Conventional treatment of hematologic malignancies mainly consists of chemotherapeutic agents or a combination of both, chemotherapy and monoclonal antibodies. Despite recent advances, chemotherapeutic treatments often remain unsatisfying due to severe side effects and incomplete long-term remission. Therefore the evaluation of novel therapeutic options is of great interest. B cell malignancies, in particularly follicular lymphomas, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and multiple myeloma, represent the most immuneresponsive types of all human cancer. Several immunotherapeutic strategies are presently employed to combat these B-cell malignancies. Active immunotherapies include vaccination strategies with dendritic cells (DCs) and genetically-modified tumor cell preparations as well as DNA and protein vaccination. Most of these vaccines target the tumor-specific immunoglobulin idiotype and have already demonstrated some anti-lymphoma activity in early phase clinical trials while their definitive impact is evaluated in ongoing phase III randomized trials. In contrast to these active immunizations, T cells transduced with chimeric antigen receptors and donor leukocyte infusions (DLI) represent adoptive (passive) immunotherapies. Recent advances of gene transduction technologies enabled improvement of immunotherapeutic strategies based on genetic modification of malignant cells or adoptive T cells. Current early phase clinical trials are investigating the potential of these innovative approaches. At the moment it remains unclear if the novel immunotherapeutic strategies will be able to play a similar role in the treatment of B cell malignancies than the already established antibody-based immunotherapy.
Keywords: Immunotherapy, B cell malignancies, dendritic cells, adoptive T cell transfer, gene therapy
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport