International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-013-1496-4 Pages: 117-122

DC-based immunotherapy for hematological malignancies

1. Kyoto University Hospital, Department of Hematology and Oncology

Correspondence to:
Toshio Kitawaki



Great advances have been made in the treatment of hematological malignancies, but achieving a definitive cure remains an elusive goal for the majority of patients. Antigen-specific tumor immunotherapy has the potential to improve clinical outcome in patients with such diseases by eradicating chemotherapy-resistant tumor cell clones without damaging normal tissues. Dendritic cells (DCs) serve as an essential link between the innate and the adaptive immune systems, acting as key controllers of antigen-specific T cell responses. Molecular identification of tumor-specific antigens recognized by T lymphocytes and technical advances in ex vivo generation of human DCs has enabled us to develop DC-based tumor immunotherapies (also called “DC vaccines”). To date, a large number of clinical trials of DC vaccines have been conducted for a variety of tumors, including hematological malignancies. Overall, these trials have demonstrated that DC vaccines have excellent safety profiles, moderate immunological activity, and mild clinical efficacy. To establish a role for DC vaccines in the treatment of hematological malignancies, we need both to define patient populations that can obtain clinical benefit from DC vaccines and to develop combination therapies that augment clinical efficacy of DC vaccines. In this review, I will describe current status of DC-based immunotherapy for hematological malignancies, and discuss future perspectives in this field.

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