The incidence of cancer and its related morbidity and mortality remain on the increase in both developing and developed countries. Cancer remains a huge burden on the health and social welfare sectors worldwide and its prevention and cure remain two golden goals that science strives to achieve. Among the treatment options for cancer that have emerged in the past 100 years, cancer vaccine immunotherapy seems to present a promising and relatively safer approach as compared to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The identification of different tumour antigens in the last fifteen years using a variety of techniques, together with the molecular cloning of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs)- and tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs)-defined tumour antigens allowed more refining of the cancer vaccines that are currently used in different clinical trials. In a proportion of treated patients, some of these vaccines have resulted in partial or complete tumour regression, while they have increased the disease-free survival rate in others. These outcomes are more evident now in patients suffering from melanoma. This review provides an update on melanoma vaccine immunotherapy. Different cancer antigens are reviewed with a detailed description of the melanoma antigens discovered so far. The review also summarises clinical trials and individual clinical cases in which some of the old and current methods to vaccinate against or treat melanoma were used. These include vaccines made of autologous or allogenic melanoma tumour cells, melanoma peptides, recombinant bacterial or viral vectors, or dendritic cells.
Keywords: immunotherapy, malignant melanoma, tumour antigens, human cancer antigen, tyrosinase, melanoma vaccines
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport