The role of MHC class II-restricted tumor antigens and CD4+ T cells in antitumor immunity

Trends Immunol. 2001 May;22(5):269-76. doi: 10.1016/s1471-4906(01)01896-8.


The identification of tumor antigens has generated a resurgence of interest in immunotherapy for cancer. However, both clinical and animal studies suggest that therapeutic strategies that have mainly focused on the use of CD8+ T cells (and MHC class I-restricted tumor antigens) are not effective in eliminating cancer cells. Recent interest has been directed towards the use of CD4+ T cells in generating antitumor immunity. To this end, the identification of MHC class II-restricted tumor antigens that can stimulate CD4+ T cells might provide opportunities for developing effective cancer vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology*
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Immunological


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II