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Developments in cancer immunotherapy


van den Broek, M; von Boehmer, L; Knuth, A (2010). Developments in cancer immunotherapy. Digestive Diseases, 28(1):51-56.

Abstract

Significant advances have been made in the field of cancer immunology and immunotherapy over the last three decades. An important step forward was the identification of human cancer antigens eliciting spontaneous immune responses in cancer patients. The most immunogenic human cancer antigens known to date belong to the cancer-testis family of antigens, which are proteins expressed in various types of cancer but not in any healthy tissues except germ cells. The aim of cancer immunotherapy is to induce or boost the existing tumor-specific immune response by vaccinating with a relevant antigen together with an adjuvant. Immunization together with an adjuvant will induce a strong and effective immune response or can qualitatively and quantitatively improve existing responses. As selective outgrowth of antigen-loss variants due to immunoediting in vivo may occur during vaccination of cancer patients, singular metastatic failure sites of disease should be surgically removed and tested for antigen expression as antigen-negative (or loss) variants may have survived the pressure of the immune system. At this rather early stage of development, cancer immunotherapy should be offered to cancer patients only within carefully monitored clinical trials of experienced clinical research teams. In addition, it may be rewarding to include patients with early-stage disease in immunotherapy trials, as immunoediting of the tumor and immune escape may be less pronounced. Copyright 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Significant advances have been made in the field of cancer immunology and immunotherapy over the last three decades. An important step forward was the identification of human cancer antigens eliciting spontaneous immune responses in cancer patients. The most immunogenic human cancer antigens known to date belong to the cancer-testis family of antigens, which are proteins expressed in various types of cancer but not in any healthy tissues except germ cells. The aim of cancer immunotherapy is to induce or boost the existing tumor-specific immune response by vaccinating with a relevant antigen together with an adjuvant. Immunization together with an adjuvant will induce a strong and effective immune response or can qualitatively and quantitatively improve existing responses. As selective outgrowth of antigen-loss variants due to immunoediting in vivo may occur during vaccination of cancer patients, singular metastatic failure sites of disease should be surgically removed and tested for antigen expression as antigen-negative (or loss) variants may have survived the pressure of the immune system. At this rather early stage of development, cancer immunotherapy should be offered to cancer patients only within carefully monitored clinical trials of experienced clinical research teams. In addition, it may be rewarding to include patients with early-stage disease in immunotherapy trials, as immunoediting of the tumor and immune escape may be less pronounced. Copyright 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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7 citations in Web of Science®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Oncology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:06 Jul 2010 22:37
Last Modified:01 Jul 2016 14:30
Publisher:Karger
ISSN:0257-2753
Publisher DOI:10.1159/000282064
PubMed ID:20460890
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-34661

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