The tipping point for combination therapy: cancer vaccines with radiation, chemotherapy, or targeted small molecule inhibitors

Semin Oncol. 2012 Jun;39(3):323-39. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2012.02.006.


Therapeutic cancer vaccines are a unique treatment modality in that they initiate a dynamic process of activating the host immune system, which can then be exploited by concurrent or subsequent therapies. The addition of immunotherapy to standard-of-care cancer therapies has shown evidence of efficacy in preclinical models and in the clinical setting. This review examines the preclinical and clinical interactions between vaccine-mediated tumor-specific immune responses and local radiation, systemic chemotherapy, or select small molecule inhibitors, as well as the potential synergy between these modalities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods*
  • Drug Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Radiotherapy / methods*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cancer Vaccines