Dendritic Cell-Based Immunotherapy in Lung Cancer

Front Immunol. 2021 Feb 12:11:620374. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.620374. eCollection 2020.


Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. The advent of immune checkpoint inhibitors has led to a paradigm shift in the treatment of metastatic non-small cell and small cell lung cancer. However, despite prolonged overall survival, only a minority of the patients derive clinical benefit from these treatments suggesting that the full anti-tumoral potential of the immune system is not being harnessed yet. One way to overcome this problem is to combine immune checkpoint blockade with different strategies aimed at inducing or restoring cellular immunity in a tumor-specific, robust, and durable way. Owing to their unique capacity to initiate and regulate T cell responses, dendritic cells have been extensively explored as tools for immunotherapy in many tumors, including lung cancer. In this review, we provide an update on the nearly twenty years of experience with dendritic cell-based immunotherapy in lung cancer. We summarize the main results from the early phase trials and give an overview of the future perspectives within this field.

Keywords: cancer vaccine; dendritic cell; immune checkpoint blockade; immunotherapy; lung cancer; tumor antigen.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / therapy
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cytokine-Induced Killer Cells / immunology
  • Cytokine-Induced Killer Cells / transplantation
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Immunotherapy, Active
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • Lung Neoplasms / immunology
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors