Purpose of review: The recent Food and Drug Administration approval of sipuleucel-T for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and of the anticytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 antibody (Ipilimumab) for metastatic melanoma has led to a renewed interest in immunotherapy for prostate and other cancers. Ipilimumab has entered phase III testing for prostate cancer, as has a viral-based anti-prostate-specific antigen vaccine (ProstVac-VF). Complementing these phase III studies are a number of innovative phase II studies, aimed at bringing immunotherapy forward in the setting of less advanced disease, as well as a number of interesting trials combining immunotherapy with conventional therapy for prostate cancer.
Recent findings: Although a number of immunotherapy trials have been initiated, few mature results are available at the current time. These data are likely to mature in the setting of an increasingly complex treatment paradigm in which multiple hormonal and novel agents are available.
Summary: Immunotherapy for prostate cancer represents an attractive treatment approach, with the currently available agent sipuleucel-T providing a significant survival benefit without appreciable toxicity. Novel approaches to improve the efficacy of this and other immune-active agents are currently under evaluation.