Enhancing cellular cancer vaccines

Immunotherapy. 2009 May;1(3):495-504. doi: 10.2217/IMT.09.4.


Various strategies have been used to generate cellular cancer vaccines with the expectation that they will become an effective part of the overall management of cancer patients. However, with few notable exceptions, immunization has not resulted in significant long-term therapeutic benefits. Tumor growth has continued and patient survival has been at best only modestly prolonged. One possible explanation is that as only a small proportion of the constituents of malignant cells are "tumor specific" and the vast majority are the products of nonantigenic, normal "housekeeping" genes, the immune response in patients immunized with cellular cancer vaccines is not sufficient to result in tumor rejection. Here, we review and characterize various types of cellular cancer vaccines. In addition, in a mouse breast cancer model system, we describe a unique strategy designed to enrich cellular vaccines for cells that induce tumor immunity. Numerous advantages and disadvantages of cancer immunotherapy with cellular vaccines are also presented.

Keywords: cancer vaccine; dNA vaccine; dendritic cell; enriched vaccine; fibroblast; leukapheresis; tumor dNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Cancer Vaccines*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Genomic Library
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Vaccines, DNA


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Vaccines, DNA