Vaccines in non-small cell lung cancer: rationale, combination strategies and update on clinical trials

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2012 Sep;83(3):432-43. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2011.12.005. Epub 2012 Feb 25.


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains the leading cause of cancer related mortality worldwide and despite some advances in therapy the overall prognosis remains disappointing. New therapeutic approaches like vaccination have been proposed and several clinical trials are ongoing. Many tumor antigens have been identified so far and specific tumor vaccines targeting these antigens have been developed. Even if the ideal setting for vaccine therapy might be the adjuvant one, vaccines seem to be potentially beneficial also in advanced disease and combination therapy could be a promising treatment option. In the advanced setting anti-MUC-1 vaccine (belagenpumatucel) and anti-TGF-β(2) vaccine (BPL-25) have entered in phase III trials as maintenance therapy after first line chemotherapy. In the adjuvant setting the most relevant and promising vaccines are directed against MAGE-A3 and PRAME, respectively. We will review the key points for effective active immunotherapies and combination therapies, giving an update on the most promising vaccines developed in NSCLC.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Active
  • Lung Neoplasms / immunology
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines