Victory and defeat in the induction of a therapeutic response through vaccine therapy for human and canine brain tumors: A review of the state of the art

Michael R. Olin, G. Elizabeth Pluhar, Brian M Andersen, Rob Shaver, Nate N. Waldron, Christopher L. Moertel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anti-tumor immunotherapy using tumor lysate-based vaccines has made great advances over recent decades. Cancer vaccines aim to elicit adaptive immune responses through various pathways by providing tumor and tumor-associated antigens with an immune stimulant or adjuvant. These anti-tumor vaccines are therefore developed as personalized treatments. Utilizing tumors as a source of vaccine antigens in immunotherapy has demonstrated promising results with minimal toxicity. However, to date, researchers have failed to overcome the overpowering immune suppressive effects within the tumor microenvironment. Immune suppression occurs naturally via multiple mechanisms. These mechanisms serve an important homeostatic role restoring a normal tissue microenvironment following an inflammatory response. Due to these suppressive mechanisms and the inherent heterogeneity of tumors, it is imperative to then elicit and maintain a specific tumoricidal response if vaccine therapy or some other combination of reagents is chosen. In this review, we focus on the historical use of tumors as a source of antigens to elicit a tumoricidal response and the limitations encountered that prevent greater success in immunotherapy. We describe the advantages and disadvantages of various vaccines and their ineffectiveness due to tumor-induced immune suppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-432
Number of pages34
JournalCritical Reviews in Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 by Begell House, Inc.


  • Canine clioma model
  • CTLA-4
  • Immunosuppression
  • Tumor lysate

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