Therapeutic Vaccines Targeting Neoantigens to Induce T-Cell Immunity against Cancers

Pao, Shih-Cheng, Mu-Tzu Chu, and Shuen-Iu Hung. “Therapeutic vaccines targeting neoantigens to induce T-cell immunity against cancers.” Pharmaceutics 14.4 (2022): 867.


Cancer immunotherapy has achieved multiple clinical benefits and has become an indispensable component of cancer treatment. Targeting tumor-specific antigens, also known as neoantigens, plays a crucial role in cancer immunotherapy. T cells of adaptive immunity that recognize neoantigens, but do not induce unwanted off-target effects, have demonstrated high efficacy and low side effects in cancer immunotherapy. Tumor neoantigens derived from accumulated genetic instability can be characterized using emerging technologies, such as high-throughput sequencing, bioinformatics, predictive algorithms, mass-spectrometry analyses, and immunogenicity validation. Neoepitopes with a higher affinity for major histocompatibility complexes can be identified and further applied to the field of cancer vaccines. Therapeutic vaccines composed of tumor lysates or cells and DNA, mRNA, or peptides of neoantigens have revoked adaptive immunity to kill cancer cells in clinical trials. Broad clinical applicability of these therapeutic cancer vaccines has emerged. In this review, we discuss recent progress in neoantigen identification and applications for cancer vaccines and the results of ongoing trials.