HER-2/neu as a target for cancer vaccines

Immunotherapy. 2010 Mar;2(2):213-26. doi: 10.2217/imt.09.89.


A novel modality toward the treatment of HER-2/neu-positive malignancies, mostly including breast and, more recently prostate carcinomas, has been the use of vaccines targeting HER-2/neu extracellular and intracellular domains. HER-2/neu-specific vaccines have been demonstrated to generate durable T-cell anti-HER-2/neu immunity when tested in Phase I and II clinical trials with no significant toxicity or autoimmunity directed against normal tissues. Targeting of HER-2/neu in active immunotherapy may involve peptide and DNA vaccines. Moreover, active anti-HER-2/neu immunization could facilitate the ex vivo expansion of HER-2/neu-specific T cells for use in adoptive immunotherapy for the treatment of established metastatic disease. In addition, early data from trials examining the potential use of HER-2/neu-based vaccines in the adjuvant setting to prevent the relapse of breast cancer in high-risk patients have shown promising results. Future approaches include multiepitope preventive vaccines and combinatorial treatments for generating the most efficient protective anti-tumor immunity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Cancer Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology*
  • Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Forecasting
  • Genes, erbB-2
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Active*
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Peptide Fragments / administration & dosage
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / transplantation
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology
  • Vaccines, DNA / therapeutic use
  • Vaccines, Subunit / therapeutic use
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / therapeutic use


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • HER-2 peptide E75 (369-377), human
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Vaccines, DNA
  • Vaccines, Subunit
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2