On immunotherapies and cancer vaccination protocols: a mathematical modelling approach

J Theor Biol. 2009 Aug 21;259(4):820-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2009.05.001. Epub 2009 May 14.


In this paper we develop a new mathematical model of immunotherapy and cancer vaccination, focusing on the role of antigen presentation and co-stimulatory signaling pathways in cancer immunology. We investigate the effect of different cancer vaccination protocols on the well-documented phenomena of cancer dormancy and recurrence, and we provide a possible explanation of why adoptive (i.e. passive) immunotherapy protocols can sometimes actually promote tumour growth instead of inhibiting it (a phenomenon called immunostimulation), as opposed to active vaccination protocols based on tumour-antigen pulsed dendritic cells. Significantly, the results of our computational simulations suggest that elevated numbers of professional antigen presenting cells correlate well with prolonged time periods of cancer dormancy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigen Presentation / immunology
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology*
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Models, Immunological*
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Recurrence
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology


  • Cancer Vaccines