Overexpressed tumor-self antigens represent the largest group of candidate vaccine targets. Those exhibiting a role in oncogenesis may be some of the least studied but perhaps most promising. This review considers this subset of self antigens by highlighting vaccine efforts for some of the better known members and focusing on TPD52, a new promising vaccine target. We shed light on the importance of both preclinical and clinical vaccine studies demonstrating that tolerance and autoimmunity (presumed to preclude this class of antigens from vaccine development) can be overcome and do not present the obstacle that might have been expected. The potential of this class of antigens for broad application is considered, possibly in the context of low tumor burden or adjuvant therapy, as is the need to understand mechanisms of tolerance that are relatively understudied.
Keywords: ALK, Anaplastic lymphoma kinase; AR, androgen receptor; CTL, cytotoxic T lymphocyte; CTLA-4, cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4; HLA, human leukocyte antigen; Her-2/neu, human epithelial growth factor receptor 2; ODN, oligodeoxynucleotide; Overexpressed tumor-self antigen; TAA, tumor associated antigen; TPD52; TRAMP, Transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate; Treg, T regulatory cell; VEGFR2, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2; WT-1, Wilms tumor-1; hD52; hD52, human TPD52; mD52; mD52, murine TPD52; oncogenic; shared; tumor protein D52; universal; vaccine.