Live-attenuated Listeria-based immunotherapy

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2013 May;12(5):493-504. doi: 10.1586/erv.13.34.


For decades Listeria monocytogenes has been used as a model of host-disease immunology, and a considerable body of knowledge has been amassed regarding the complex immune response to L. monocytogenes. Attenuated strains of L. monocytogenes are currently being assessed as therapeutic bacterial vectors to present tumor-associated antigens to the immune system for the clinical treatment of cancer. L. monocytogenes immunotherapy utilizes many synchronous and disparate action mechanisms that stimulate innate and cell-mediated adaptive immunity while reducing immunosuppressive influences in the tumor microenvironment. Other effects not typically associated with immunotherapy include the stimulation of myeloid hematopoiesis and vascular changes that enable chemotaxis. Preliminary clinical results using L. monocytogenes bearing the HPV oncogene E7 indicate good tolerability and a strong efficacy signal, warranting further development. This article reviews the current status of L. monocytogenes as a cancer immunotherapeutic and the complex immune responses that underlie L. monocytogenes immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Cancer Vaccines / genetics
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology
  • Drug Carriers / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Drug Discovery / trends
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Listeria monocytogenes / genetics
  • Listeria monocytogenes / immunology*
  • Papillomavirus E7 Proteins / genetics
  • Papillomavirus E7 Proteins / immunology
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / genetics
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / immunology
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / genetics
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology
  • Viral Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Viral Vaccines / genetics
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Drug Carriers
  • Papillomavirus E7 Proteins
  • Vaccines, Attenuated
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • Viral Vaccines