BACKGROUND: In the last years, many new treatment options have widened the therapeutic scenario of genitourinary malignancies. Immunotherapy has shown efficacy, especially in the urothelial and renal cell carcinomas, with no particular relevance in prostate cancer. However, despite the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors, there is still high morbidity and mortality among these neoplasms. Cancer vaccines represent another way to activate the immune system. We sought to summarize the most recent advances in vaccine therapy for genitourinary malignancies with this review.
METHODS: We searched PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Database for clinical trials conducted in the last ten years, focusing on cancer vaccines in the prostate, urothelial and renal cancer.
RESULTS: Various therapeutic vaccines, including DNA-based, RNA-based, peptide-based, dendritic cells, viral vectors and modified tumor cells, have been demonstrated to induce specific immune responses in a variable percentage of patients. However, these responses rarely corresponded to significant survival improvements.
CONCLUSIONS: Further preclinical and clinical studies will improve the knowledge about cancer vaccines in genitourinary malignancies to optimize dosage, select targets with a driver role for tumor development and growth, and finally overcome resistance mechanisms. Combination strategies represent possibly more effective and long-lasting treatments.