Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 401–408 | Cite as

Prostate cancer vaccines: the long road to clinical application

  • Constantin N. BaxevanisEmail author
  • Michael Papamichail
  • Sonia A. Perez


Cancer vaccines as a modality of immune-based cancer treatment offer the promise of a non-toxic and efficacious therapeutic alternative for patients. Emerging data suggest that response to vaccination largely depends on the magnitude of the type I immune response generated, epitope spreading and immunogenic modulation of the tumor. Moreover, accumulating evidence suggests that cancer vaccines will likely induce better results in patients with low tumor burden and less aggressive disease. To induce long-lasting clinical responses, vaccines will need to be combined with immunoregulatory agents to overcome tumor-related immune suppression. Immunotherapy, as a treatment modality for prostate cancer, has received significant attention in the past few years. The most intriguing characteristics that make prostate cancer a preferred target for immune-based treatments are (1) its relative indolence which allows sufficient time for the immune system to develop meaningful antitumor responses; (2) prostate tumor-associated antigens are mainly tissue-lineage antigens, and thus, antitumor responses will preferentially target prostate cancer cells. But, also in the event of eradication of normal prostate epithelium as a result of immune attack, this will have no clinical consequences because the prostate gland is not a vital organ; (3) the use of prostate-specific antigen for early detection of recurrent disease allows for the initiation of vaccine immunotherapy while tumor burden is still minimal. Finally, for improving clinical outcome further to increasing vaccine potency, it is imperative to recognize prognostic and predictive biomarkers of clinical benefit that may guide to select the therapeutic strategies for patients most likely to gain benefit.


Prostate cancer Cancer vaccines Immunomodulation Epitope spreading Cross-presentation Biomarkers 



Androgen deprivation therapy


Anoctamin 7


Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4


Food and Drug Administration


Interferon gamma


Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer


Mucin 1


Natural killer


New York esophageal squamous cell carcinoma


Overall survival


Prostatic acid phosphatase


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells


Programmed death 1 receptor


Progression-free survival


Prostate-specific antigen


Prostate stem cell antigen


Prostate-specific membrane antigen


Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors


Tumor-associated antigen


Transforming growth factor beta


Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Constantin N. Baxevanis
    • 1
  • Michael Papamichail
    • 1
  • Sonia A. Perez
    • 1
  1. 1.Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy CenterSaint Savas Cancer HospitalAthensGreece

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