RNA pulsed dendritic cells: an approach for cancer immunotherapy

Vaccine. 2013 Feb 6;31(8):1141-56. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.12.027. Epub 2013 Jan 8.


The immunotherapy of cancer is aimed at evoking both branches of immune system to elicite specific immune responses directed against tumor antigens to deal with residual tumor cells upon interaction, and thereby decreases mortality as well as morbidity of cancer patients. As dendritic cells (DCs) are specialized for antigen presentation, and their immunogenicity leads to the induction of antigen specific immune responses, various immunotherapeutic approaches have been designed for using DCs to present tumor-associated antigens to T-lymphocytes. As a part of proposed strategy ex vivo generated DCs might be loaded with antigens and re-infused to the patients and/or they can be used for the ex vivo expansion of anti-tumor lymphocytes. The DCs loaded ex vivo with RNA can be safely administered which proves to be an asset for producing antigen specific immune responses. Furthermore, already conducted studies have prompted clinical trials to be designed to investigate immunological and clinical effects of RNA pulsed DCs administered as an engineered therapeutic vaccine in cancer patients. However, selection of the antigens of interest, methods for introducing TAAgs into MHC class I and II processing pathways, methods for isolation and activation of DCs, and route of administration are the parameters to be considered for designing and conducting clinical trials with engineered DCs. The enhanced RNA transfection efficiency would further improve antigen processing and presentation and T-cell co-stimulation, resulting in the induction of heightened anti-tumor immune responses. Therefore, RNA transfected dendritic cells continue to hold promise for cellular immunotherapy and opens new avenues to devising further strategies for cancer therapeutic interventions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • RNA / genetics*
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Transfection / methods


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • RNA