Directions in the immune targeting of cancer: lessons learned from the cancer-testis Ag NY-ESO-1

Immunol Cell Biol. 2006 Jun;84(3):303-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1711.2006.01446.x.


Since the early 1990s, numerous cancer Ag have been defined and for a handful of these there is now some clinical experience, which has made it possible to assess their value as targets for cancer immunotherapy. The cancer-testis Ag have been particularly attractive because their expression is limited to cancer and virtually no non-malignant cells apart from germ cells and trophoblast. Among these, NY-ESO-1 has been the focus of our attention. The exceptional immunogenicity of this Ag coupled with its widespread distribution among many cancer types make it a very good vaccine candidate, with the potential to be used in vaccines against many types of malignancies. This article reviews emerging knowledge about the biology of NY-ESO-1 and experience with the early clinical development of vaccines directed against NY-ESO-1. These early studies have yielded a wealth of information about the immunology of NY-ESO-1 and set the scene for future clinical strategies for immune targeting of cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology
  • Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Vaccination


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • CTAG1B protein, human
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Membrane Proteins