Calcium phosphate: a substitute for aluminum adjuvants?

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2017 Mar;16(3):289-299. doi: 10.1080/14760584.2017.1244484. Epub 2016 Oct 24.


Calcium phosphate was used as an adjuvant in France in diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and poliomyelitis vaccines. It was later completely substituted by alum salts in the late 80's, but it still remains as an approved adjuvant for the World Health Organization for human vaccination. Area covered: Thus, calcium phosphate is now considered as one of the substances that could replace alum salts in vaccines. The aim of this paper is to draw a review of existing data on calcium phosphate as an adjuvant in order to bring out the strengths and weaknesses for its use on a large scale. Expert commentary: Calcium phosphate is a compound naturally present in the organism, safe and already used in human vaccination. Beyond comparisons with the other adjuvants, calcium phosphate represents a good candidate to replace or to complete alum salts as a vaccine adjuvant.

Keywords: Vaccine; adjuvant; aluminum salts; calcium phosphate; immune response; safety.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / adverse effects
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Alum Compounds / chemistry
  • Alum Compounds / pharmacology
  • Aluminum / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Calcium Phosphates / adverse effects
  • Calcium Phosphates / chemistry
  • Calcium Phosphates / pharmacology*
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine / chemistry
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine / immunology
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine / pharmacology
  • Humans


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Alum Compounds
  • Calcium Phosphates
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine
  • aluminum sulfate
  • Aluminum