Recent advances in carbohydrate-based cancer vaccines

  • Ke-Tao Jin
  • Huan-Rong Lan
  • Xiao-Yi Chen
  • Shi-Bing Wang
  • Xiao-Jiang Ying
  • Yan Lin
  • Xiao-Zhou MouEmail author


Cancer is a complex multifactorial disease for which many promising therapeutic strategies such as immunotherapy are emerging. Malignant cells frequently express aberrant cell surface carbohydrates, which differentiate them from normal “healthy” cells. This characteristic presents a window for the development of synthetic carbohydrate antigen-based cancer vaccines which can be recognized by the immune system and can bring about T cell-dependent immune responses. Antibodies generated against the carbohydrate antigens partake in the inactivation of carbohydrate-decorated cancer cells, by slowing down tumor cell growth and inducing cancer cell apoptosis. Novel synthetic strategies for carbohydrate antigens have led to several synthetic cancer vaccine candidates. In the present review, we describe the latest progress in carbohydrate-based cancer vaccines and their clinical evaluation in various cancers.


Cancer vaccines Carbohydrate Immunotherapy Tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens 



This work was supported by Zhejiang Provincial Science and Technology Projects (Grant Nos. 2017C33213, LGD19H160001 and 2017C37159), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 81772537, and 81374014).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Colorectal SurgeryShaoxing People’s Hospital (Shaoxing Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine)ShaoxingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Breast and Thyroid SurgeryShaoxing People’s Hospital (Shaoxing Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine)ShaoxingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Tumor Molecular Diagnosis and Individualized Medicine of Zhejiang ProvinceZhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital (People’s Hospital of Hangzhou Medical College)HangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Clinical Research InstituteZhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital (People’s Hospital of Hangzhou Medical College)HangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.Department of GastroenterologyZhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital (People’s Hospital of Hangzhou Medical College)HangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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