Tumor antigens and tumor vaccines: peptides as immunogens

Semin Surg Oncol. Nov-Dec 1996;12(6):446-53. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2388(199611/12)12:6<446::AID-SSU10>3.0.CO;2-T.


Tumor antigens recognized by human cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) have been identified for multiple types of solid tumors. These include both shared and unique antigens. Unique antigens are those expressed uniquely by one patient's tumor, and shared antigens are those present on tumor cells from many different patients. Many of the shared antigens are derived from tissue-specific differentiation antigens, oncogenes, or a set of antigens expressed only in tumors or in testis. In addition to advances in understanding tumor antigens that stimulate CTL and T-helper cell responses, there have been advances in understanding immunity in general, including the characterization of cytokines, the recognition of the dendritic cell as an optimal antigen-presenting cell (APC), and the characterization of costimulatory molecules as critical components of antigen presentation. Together, these developments have breathed new life into tumor immunology, and they promise to lead to a new generation of peptide- and cell-based tumor vaccines.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Epitopes
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex / immunology
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Melanoma / immunology*
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Oncogenes
  • Peptides / immunology*
  • Vaccines, Synthetic*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Epitopes
  • Peptides
  • Vaccines, Synthetic