Cancer Immunotherapy Using RNA-loaded Dendritic Cells

Clin Exp Immunol. 2003 Dec;134(3):378-84. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2249.2003.02286.x.


Dendritic cells (DC) are the most professional antigen-presenting cells of the immune system and are capable of initiating immune responses in vitro and in vivo. One of the great challenges in immunotherapy protocols is to introduce relevant antigens into DC for stimulation of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I- and class II-restricted anti-tumour or anti-viral immunity. This review will focus on the development of mRNA-loaded DC-based immunotherapy vaccines. First, several published results concerning mRNA transfection efficiency in DC are compared. Next, an overview is given for several published studies describing CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell clone activation using RNA-loaded DC. These data show that RNA-loaded DC efficiently process and present antigenic epitopes. Next, published data from in vitro T-cell activation studies using RNA-loaded DC are summarized and provide evidence that RNA-loaded DC can efficiently stimulate in vitro primary and secondary immune responses. Finally, the summarized data provide evidence that RNA-loaded DC are a promising strategy for the development of future cancer vaccination strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Dendritic Cells*
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive / methods*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • RNA, Messenger / immunology*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • RNA, Messenger