Cancer vaccination

M. Del Vecchio, G. Parmiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The growth and progression of solid tumours is dependent on several biological factors, such as tumour angiogenesis, appearance of new genetic alterations and/or the failure of the immune defences of the host. Physicians have dreamed of treating cancer with vaccines since the first vaccines against infectious diseases were developed. The identification and availability of tumour-associated antigens now allows the possibility of eliciting humoral (antibody-mediated) and cell-mediated immunity to be tested, which may result in direct or indirect tumour destruction. Thus cancer vaccines have been constructed in order to activate and amplify the patient's immune reaction against tumour-associated antigens. Recent progress in defining the immunogenic epitopes of tumour antigens and in augmenting their immunogenicity (that is their ability to be recognised by and stimulate the immune system of the host), along with the new information on the mechanisms of tumour antigen presentation, has revolutionised the field of cancer vaccines initially based on non-specific approaches. This review will briefly focus on the biological basis of the development and the clinical application of a wide spectrum of tumour vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-256
Number of pages18
JournalFORUM - Trends in Experimental and Clinical Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Cancer vaccine
  • Gene therapy
  • Tumour antigens
  • Tumour immunology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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