Glycoconjugate Journal

, Volume 29, Issue 5–6, pp 259–271 | Cite as

Carbohydrate-based cancer vaccines: target cancer with sugar bullets

  • Chang-Cheng Liu
  • Xin-Shan YeEmail author


With the booming development of glycobiology and glycochemistry, more and more structures of tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens (TACAs) are identified. Their broad expression and high specificity in cancer make them important targets to develop cancer vaccines or immunotherapies. However, most of the TACAs are T cell-independent antigens, they cannot elicit a powerful enough immune response to prevent or treat cancer. Immunotolerance and immunosuppression are more easily induced due to their endogenous properties and the declining immunity of the patients. This review summarizes the recent efforts to overcome these obstacles: coupling the carbohydrate antigens to proper carriers such as proteins or some small molecule carriers, and chemically modifying the structures of the TACAs to enhance the immunogenicity of TACAs and break the immunotolerance.


Carbohydrate-based anti-cancer vaccine Immunotherapy Immune tolerance Antigen Carrier 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81172916) and “973” grant from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2012CB822100).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Natural and Biomimetic Drugs, School of Pharmaceutical SciencesPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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