HLA ligandome tumor antigen discovery for personalized vaccine approach

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2013 Oct;12(10):1211-7. doi: 10.1586/14760584.2013.836911. Epub 2013 Oct 4.


Every cancer is different and cancer cells differ from normal cells, in particular, through genetic alterations. HLA molecules on the cell surface enable T lymphocytes to recognize cellular alterations as antigens, including mutations, increase in gene product copy numbers or expression of genes usually not used in the adult organism. The search for cancer-associated antigens shared by many patients with a particular cancer has yielded a number of hits used in clinical vaccination trials with indication of survival benefit. Targeting cancer-specific antigens, which are exclusively expressed on cancer cells and not on normal cells, holds the promise for much better results and perhaps even a cure. Such antigens, however, may specifically appear in very few patients or may be mutated appearing just in one patient. Therefore, to target these in a molecularly defined way, the approach has to be individualized.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / metabolism*
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology*
  • Cancer Vaccines / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism*
  • Precision Medicine / methods*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • La protein, human
  • Phosphoproteins