Potential targets for pancreatic cancer immunotherapeutics

Immunotherapy. 2011 Apr;3(4):517-37. doi: 10.2217/imt.11.10.


Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is the fourth leading cause of cancer death with an overall 5-year survival of less than 5%. As there is ample evidence that pancreatic adenocarcinomas elicit antitumor immune responses, identification of pancreatic cancer-associated antigens has spurred the development of vaccination-based strategies for treatment. While promising results have been observed in animal tumor models, most clinical studies have found only limited success. As most trials were performed in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, the contribution of immune suppressor mechanisms should be taken into account. In this article, we detail recent work in tumor antigen vaccination and the recently identified mechanisms of immune suppression in pancreatic cancer. We offer our perspective on how to increase the clinical efficacy of vaccines for pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / immunology
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy*
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / therapeutic use*
  • Cancer Vaccines / classification
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Mice
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / immunology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Receptors, Antigen / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen / therapeutic use*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vaccination


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Receptors, Antigen
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins