Advances in the understanding of the immunoregulatory functions of dendritic cells (DCs) in animal models and humans have led to their exploitation as anticancer vaccines. Although DC-based immunotherapy has proven clinically safe and efficient to induce tumor-specific immune responses, only a limited number of objective clinical responses have been reported in cancer patients. These relatively disappointing results have prompted the evaluation of multiple approaches to improve the efficacy of DC vaccines. The topic of this review focuses on personalized DC-based anticancer vaccines, which in theory have the potential to present to the host immune system the entire repertoire of antigens harbored by autologous tumor cells. We also discuss the implementation of these vaccines in cancer therapeutic strategies, their limitations and the future challenges for effective immunotherapy against cancer.
Keywords: anticancer immune response; chaperone protein; dendritic cell; idiotype; personalized tumor vaccine; tumor lysate.