Immunogenic HER-2/neu peptides as tumor vaccines

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2006 Jan;55(1):85-95. doi: 10.1007/s00262-005-0692-3. Epub 2005 Oct 27.


During the last decade, a large number of tumor-associated antigens (TAA) have been identified, which can be recognized by T cells. This has led to renewed interest in the use of active immunization as a modality for the treatment of cancer. HER-2/neu is a 185-KDa receptor-like glycoprotein that is overexpressed by a variety of tumors including breast, ovarian, lung, prostate and colorectal carcinomata. Several immunogenic HER-2/neu peptides recognized by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) or helper T lymphocytes (TH) have been identified thus far. Patients with HER-2/neu over-expressing cancers exhibit increased frequencies of peripheral blood T cells recognizing immunogenic HER-2/neu peptides. Various protocols for generating T cell-mediated immune responses specific for HER-2/neu peptides have been examined in pre-clinical models or in clinical trials. Vaccination studies in animals utilizing HER-2/neu peptides have been successful in eliminating tumor growth. In humans, however, although immunological responses have been detected against the peptides used for vaccination, no clinical responses have been described. Because HER-2/neu is a self-antigen, functional immune responses against it may be limited through tolerance mechanisms. Therefore, it would be interesting to determine whether abrogation of tolerance to HER-2/neu using appropriate adjuvants and/or peptide analogs may lead to the development of immune responses to HER-2/neu epitopes that can be of relevance to cancer immunotherapy. Vaccine preparations containing mixtures of HER-2/neu peptides and peptide from other tumor-related antigens might also enhance efficacy of therapeutic vaccination.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epitopes
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / chemistry
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer
  • Vaccination*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Epitopes
  • Receptor, ErbB-2