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Review Article

Dendritic cell vaccination for cancer therapy

A Corrigendum to this article was published on 25 October 2001


A growing list of defined tumor-antigens opens the way to antigen specific immunotherapy of cancer. However current approaches are often limited in their potential to induce an effective anti-tumor response. Dendritic cells (DC) are natural adjuvants for the induction of antigen specific T cell response. They have been successfully used in clinical pilot trials to induce tumor specific immunity as well as clinical response in selected patients. Current research focuses on optimization of DC source, choice of antigen, antigen loading, mode of injection, as well as immuno-monitoring. Finally, a variety of immune escape mechanisms are operative at the tumor site and have to be overcome for successful vaccination.

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Figure 1
Figure 2



antigen presenting cell


cytotoxic T-lymphocyte


dendritic cell


dermal dendritic cell


delayed-type hypersensitivity


fms-like tyrosine kinase 3


fetal calf serum


granulocyte/macrophage-colony stimulating factor


histocompatibility leukocyte antigen




complete response




keyhole limpet hemocyanin


Langerhans cell


major histocompatibility complex


monocyte derived dendritic cells


mixed response


phosphate-buffered saline


progressive disease


partial response


stable disease


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Grants from the Cancer League Zürich, the Swiss Cancer League are gratefully acknowledged. We apologize to all our colleagues whose work was not cited due to space limitations.

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Nestle, F. Dendritic cell vaccination for cancer therapy. Oncogene 19, 6673–6679 (2000).

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  • melanoma
  • dendritic cells
  • immunotherapy
  • antigen-presenting cells
  • immunointervention

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