Vaccination with Theratope (STn-KLH) as treatment for breast cancer

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2004 Dec;3(6):655-63. doi: 10.1586/14760584.3.6.655.


Cancer vaccines have demonstrated that they can stimulate antibody and cell-mediated immune responses against tumor-associated antigens in the laboratory. However, few clinical studies with cancer vaccines have demonstrated convincing clinical responses. Sialyl-Tn is a carbohydrate associated with MUC1. It is a unique tumor-associated antigen, present on many adenocarcinomas including breast, ovarian, colorectal, gastric and pancreatic. Consequently, Sialyl-TN is an ideal candidate for boosting the patient's immune system specifically against a unique tumor-associated antigen. The cancer vaccine Theratope was developed by Biomira, Inc. using a synthetic Sialyl-Tn antigen that emulates the unique carbohydrate on human cancer. Clinical trials have predominantly been carried out in breast cancer patients and these trials are outlined in this profile.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate / immunology
  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Female
  • Hemocyanins / immunology
  • Hemocyanins / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Stem Cell Transplantation


  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • sialyl-Tn antigen-keyhole-limpet hemocyanin conjugate
  • Hemocyanins