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Expert Rev Vaccines. 2004 Aug;3(4):403-11.

Heat shock protein-based cancer vaccines.

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Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Heat shock proteins (HSPs) exist ubiquitously across all species and function as chaperones stabilizing and delivering peptides. Tumor-derived HSP-peptide complex has been known to induce immunity against the original tumor in preclinical studies. HSP-based vaccines work across tumor types and bypass the need for identifying the responsible peptide(s) for inducing immunity. These vaccines are tumor- and patient-specific in that they capture the tumor cells' fingerprints. HSP-based vaccines have been studied in early phase clinical trials, mostly using HSP glycoprotein 96, for various types of malignancies including melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer, low-grade lymphoma, colorectal cancer and chronic myelogenous leukemia. All showed minimal toxicity and potential efficacy. Phase III studies for melanoma and renal cell carcinoma are ongoing. HSP-based vaccines are a novel vaccine preparation with a promising role in cancer management. Further studies to determine the administering strategy and specific indication are warranted.

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