Cancer immunoprevention: From mice to early clinical trials

Arianna Palladini, Lorena Landuzzi, Pier Luigi Lollini, Patrizia Nanni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cancer immunoprevention is based on the fact that a functioning immune system controls tumor onset and development in humans and animals, thus leading to the idea that the enhancement of immune responses in healthy individuals could effectively reduce cancer risk later in life. Successful primary immunoprevention of tumors caused by hepatitis B and papilloma viruses is already implemented at the population level with specific vaccines. The immunoprevention of human tumors unrelated to infectious agents is an outstanding challenge. Proof-of-principle preclinical studies in genetically-modified or in carcinogen-exposed mice clearly demonstrated that vaccines and other immunological treatments induce host immune responses that effectively control tumor onset and progression, eventually resulting in cancer prevention. While a straightforward translation to healthy humans is currently unfeasible, a number of pioneering clinical trials showed that cancer immunoprevention can be effectively implemented in human cohorts affected by specific cancer risks, such as preneoplastic/early neoplastic lesions. Future developments will see the implementation of cancer immunoprevention in a wider range of conditions at risk of tumor development, such as the exposure to known carcinogens and genetic predispositions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalBMC Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 2018


  • Cancer immunoprevention
  • Cancer vaccines
  • Genetically-modified mouse models
  • HER-2
  • Oncoantigens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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