Therapeutic cancer vaccines: a long and winding road to success

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2014 Jan;13(1):131-44. doi: 10.1586/14760584.2014.852961.


Harnessing the immune system to achieve therapeutic efficacy in cancer has been a milestone in immuno-oncology. Tumor-induced suppression works as an obstacle for the effectiveness of immunotherapies. Advances in our understanding of the interrelationship between cancer immunoediting and immunotherapy led to successful manipulation of anticancer immunity; this provided the platform for combining cancer vaccines with chemotherapies counteracting, to some extent, tumor-induced suppressive entities and demonstrating clinical efficacy. Targeting co-inhibitory and co-stimulatory receptors with immunostimulatory antibodies has also shown clinical promise and its combined use with vaccines is a promising new approach of immunotherapy for cancer. Recent evidence supporting vaccine administration in patients with early and less aggressive disease should be additionally placed to select the appropriate patient population and to identify earlier markers of clinical benefit and immunological parameters that correlate with survival. This review focuses on promising vaccination platforms and essential perspectives in the treatment of cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cancer Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology*
  • Cancer Vaccines / isolation & purification*
  • Drug Discovery / trends*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Cancer Vaccines