Vaccine immunotherapy in lung cancer: Clinical experience and future directions

PMID: 25989231
Journal: Pharmacology & therapeutics (volume: 153, issue: , Pharmacol. Ther. 2015 Sep;153:1-9)
Published: 2015-05-16

Freeman-Keller M, Goldman J, Gray J


Lung cancer remains the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with SEER data showing lung cancer accounting for 29% of all male-related cancer mortality and 26% of all female-related mortality. Patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have localized disease both have 5-year survival rates of 52.2%, whereas patients with metastatic disease have 5-year survival rates of only 3.7%. Traditional anti-cancer therapies (surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy) have limited effectiveness in curbing progression. However, advances in immunology and molecular biology in the past two decades have resulted in improved prognosis for those with SCLC and NSCLC, although novel therapies are still needed to make significant improvements in median overall and progression-free survival rates. Notable progress on the importance of tumor immunology has included work on immune surveillance, antigenic targets, and immune checkpoints. Immunotherapies, including vaccines, which can induce antitumor responses by harnessing the power of the immune system, may help to fill this void, and the cancer vaccine continues to be studied as adjunctive therapy. Here, we review recently reported results from clinical trials as well as the possible future roles of vaccine therapy in the treatment of SCLC and NSCLC patients.