Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 138, Issue 1, pp 1–12 | Cite as

Vaccination for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer with special focus on Her-2/neu peptide vaccines

  • Ursula WiedermannEmail author
  • Adam B. Davis
  • Christoph C. Zielinski


Immunologic interventions in a subset of breast cancer patients represent a well-established therapeutic approach reflecting individualized treatment modalities. Thus, the therapeutic administration of monoclonal antibodies targeting tumor-associated antigens (TAA), such as Her-2/neu, represents a milestone in cancer treatment. However, passive antibody administration suffers from several drawbacks, including frequency and long duration of treatment. These undesirables may be avoidable in an approach based on generating active immune responses against these same targets. Only recently has the significance of tumors in relation to their microenvironments been understood as essential for creating an effective cancer vaccine. In particular, the immune system plays an important role in suppressing or promoting tumor formation and growth. Therefore, activation of appropriate triggers (such as induction of Th1 cells, CD8+ T cells, and suppression of regulatory cells in combination with generation of antibodies with anti-tumor activity) is a desirable goal. Current vaccination approaches have concentrated on therapeutic vaccines using certain TAA. Many cancer antigens, including breast cancer antigens, have been described and also given priority ranking for use as vaccine antigens by the US National Cancer Institute. One of the TAA antigens which has been thoroughly examined in numerous trials is Her-2/neu. This review will discuss delivery systems for this antigen with special focus on T and B cell peptide vaccines. Attention will be given to their advantages and limitations, as well as the use of certain adjuvants to improve anti-cancer responses.


Vaccination Breast cancer Tumor associated antigens Her-2/neu T cell peptides B cell peptides T-regulatory cells Adjuvants Th1-responses Antibodies 


Conflict of interest

UW and ABD: none. CCZ: Roche: Honoraria and Advisory Boards (Compensated); Biolife Science: Scientific Advise (Non-Compensated).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ursula Wiedermann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Adam B. Davis
    • 2
  • Christoph C. Zielinski
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine, Center for Pathophysiology, Immunology & InfectiologyMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Truman State UniversityKirksvilleUSA
  3. 3.Clinical Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine IComprehensive Cancer Center, Medical University of Vienna and General HospitalViennaAustria

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