Peptide vaccines in early breast cancer.

Affiliation

IEO, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Milan Italy; University of Milan, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

The immune system plays a dual role of host-protecting and tumor-promoting, as elegantly expressed by the 'cancer immunoediting' hypothesis. Although breast cancer has not been traditionally considered to be immunogenic, recently there is accumulating and solid evidence on the association between immune system and breast cancer. To mount an effective anti-tumor response, host immunosurveillance must recognize tumor-specific epitopes, thus defining the antigenicity of a tumor. Neoantigens are mutant cancer peptides that arise as terminal products of the expression of somatic cancer mutations. Neoantigens and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins present together to effector cells of the immune system. Neoantigen vaccines have shown promising results in inducing neoantigen-specific T-cell responses. Currently, cancer vaccines are under evaluation in breast cancer to avoid recurrences in patients at high risk despite optimal standard therapy. Given the promise of a very specific long-term antitumor immune response, the development of cancer vaccines continues is of great interest. Combinations of neoantigen vaccines and other immunotherapies are also studied to evade cancer immune escape.

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