Trial watch: Dendritic cell-based interventions for cancer therapy
Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
Class III Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
Dendritic cells (DCs) occupy a central position in the immune system, orchestrating a wide repertoire of responses that span from the development of self-tolerance to the elicitation of potent cellular and humoral immunity. Accordingly, DCs are involved in the etiology of conditions as diverse as infectious diseases, allergic and autoimmune disorders, graft rejection and cancer. During the last decade, several methods have been developed to load DCs with tumor-associated antigens, ex vivo or in vivo, in the attempt to use them as therapeutic anticancer vaccines that would elicit clinically relevant immune responses. While this has not always been the case, several clinical studies have demonstrated that DC-based anticancer vaccines are capable of activating tumor-specific immune responses that increase overall survival, at least in a subset of patients. In 2010, this branch of clinical research has culminated with the approval by FDA of a DC-based therapeutic vaccine (sipuleucel-T, Provenge(®)) for use in patients with asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer. Intense research efforts are currently dedicated to the identification of the immunological features of patients that best respond to DC-based anticancer vaccines. This knowledge may indeed lead to personalized combination strategies that would extend the benefit of DC-based immunotherapy to a larger patient population. In addition, widespread enthusiasm has been generated by the results of the first clinical trials based on in vivo DC targeting, an approach that holds great promises for the future of DC-based immunotherapy. In this Trial Watch, we will summarize the results of recently completed clinical trials and discuss the progress of ongoing studies that have evaluated/are evaluating DC-based interventions for cancer therapy.