Besides the traditional therapeutic options, treatment with antibodies specific for the receptor tyrosine kinase HER-2/neu has been established as a standard therapy in the clinical management of advanced breast cancer. Ongoing clinical studies focus on the improvement of application protocols in order to minimize side effects and evaluate the potential therapeutic benefit of anti-HER-2/neu antibodies in combination with conventional chemotherapy. Various similar strategies to target other tumour-associated antigens or proangiogenic factors with inhibitory antibodies are currently investigated in promising preclinical and clinical trials. In addition, research efforts are made to develop procedures to generate tumour-specific cellular immune responses in breast cancer patients. Therapeutic vaccination is, however, still at an early stage of development, despite encouraging results of animal studies. We summarise and discuss vaccination strategies with tumour-specific proteins or peptides, pulsed dendritic cells, and modified tumour cells as well as antibody-based therapeutic concepts to target HER-2/neu, EGF receptor, MUC-1, uPA/uPAR, and VEGF.
Keywords: breast cancer, immunotherapy, vegf, muc, epidermal growth factor, her/neu, dendritic cells, vaccination
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