Preclinical and clinical development of DNA vaccines for prostate cancer

Urol Oncol. 2016 Apr;34(4):193-204. doi: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2013.09.014. Epub 2013 Dec 12.


Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. It is also the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men, making it one of the largest public health concerns today. Prostate cancer is an ideal disease for immunotherapies because of the generally slow progression, the dispensability of the target organ in the patient population, and the availability of several tissue-specific antigens. As such, several therapeutic vaccines have entered clinical trials, with one autologous cellular vaccine (sipuleucel-T) recently gaining Food and Drug Administration approval after demonstrating overall survival benefit in randomized phase III clinical trials. DNA-based vaccines are safe, economical, alternative "off-the-shelf" approaches that have undergone extensive evaluation in preclinical models. In fact, the first vaccine approved in the United States for the treatment of cancer was a DNA vaccine for canine melanoma. Several prostate cancer-specific DNA vaccines have been developed in the last decade and have shown promising results in early phase clinical trials. This review summarizes anticancer human DNA vaccine trials, with a focus on those conducted for prostate cancer. We conclude with an outline of special considerations important for the development and successful translation of DNA vaccines from the laboratory to the clinic.

Keywords: Clinical trials; DNA vaccines; Prostate cancer; Tumor vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cancer Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Cancer Vaccines / chemistry
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology*
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / immunology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vaccines, DNA / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines, DNA / chemistry
  • Vaccines, DNA / immunology*


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Vaccines, DNA