Immunodominance and immunodomination: critical factors in developing effective CD8+ T-cell-based cancer vaccines

Adv Cancer Res. 2006;95:203-47. doi: 10.1016/S0065-230X(06)95006-4.


The focusing of cellular immunity toward one, or just a few, antigenic determinant, even during immune responses to complex microorganisms or antigens, is known as immunodominance. Although described in many systems, the mechanisms of determinant immunodominance are only just beginning to be appreciated, especially in relation to the interplay between T cells of differing specificities and the interactions between T cells and the antigen-presenting cells (APCs). The outcome of these cellular interactions can lead to a form of immune suppression of one specificity by another-described as "immunodomination". The specific and detailed mechanisms involved in this process are now partly defined. A full understanding of all the factors that control immunodominance and influence immunodomination will help us to develop better viral and cancer vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cancer Vaccines / genetics*
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immunodominant Epitopes / immunology
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Immunodominant Epitopes