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Pancreatic cancer vaccine: a unique potential therapy

Authors Cappello P, Principe M, Novelli F

Received 10 September 2015

Accepted for publication 9 October 2015

Published 21 December 2015 Volume 2016:6 Pages 1—11

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/GICTT.S55850

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Sonal Gupta

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Eileen O'Reilly


Paola Cappello, Moitza Principe, Francesco Novelli

Department of Molecular Biotechnologies and Health Sciences, Center for Experimental Research and Medical Studies, AOU Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, University of Turin, Turin, Italy

Abstract: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a lethal disease and is one of the cancers that is most resistant to traditional therapies. Historically, neither chemotherapy nor radiotherapy has provided any significant increase in the survival of patients with PDA. Despite intensive efforts, any attempts to improve the survival in the past 15 years have failed. This holds true even after the introduction of molecularly targeted agents, chosen on the basis of their involvement in pathways that are considered to be important in PDA development and progression. Recently, however, FOLFIRINOX (5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin) treatment has provided a limited survival advantage in patients with advanced PDA. Therefore, effective therapeutic strategies are urgently needed to improve the survival rate of patients with PDA. Results from the last 10 years of research in the field of PDA have helped to identify new immunological targets and develop new vaccines that are capable of stimulating an immune response. In addition, the information obtained about the role of the tumor microenvironment in suppressing the immune response and the possibility of targeting PDA microenvironment to limit immune suppression and enhance the response of effector T-cells has opened new avenues for treating this incurable disease. The time is ripe for developing new therapeutic approaches that are able to effectively counteract the progression and spreading of PDA. This review discusses the potential prospects in the care of patients with pancreatic cancer through vaccination and its combination therapy with surgery, chemotherapy, targeting of the tumor microenvironment, and inhibition of immunological checkpoints.

Keywords: pancreatic cancer, vaccines, T-cells, antibody, immunotherapy

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