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Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2006 May;55(5):481-94. Epub 2005 Oct 12.

Tumor stroma-associated antigens for anti-cancer immunotherapy.

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Department of Dermatology, Julius-Maximilians-University of Wuerzburg, Josef-Schneider-Str. 2, 97080 Wuerzburg, Germany.


Immunotherapy has been widely investigated for its potential use in cancer therapy and it becomes more and more apparent that the selection of target antigens is essential for its efficacy. Indeed, limited clinical efficacy is partly due to immune evasion mechanisms of neoplastic cells, e.g. downregulation of expression or presentation of the respective antigens. Consequently, antigens contributing to tumor cell survival seem to be more suitable therapeutic targets. However, even such antigens may be subject to immune evasion due to impaired processing and cell surface expression. Since development and progression of tumors is not only dependent on cancer cells themselves but also on the active contribution of the stromal cells, e.g. by secreting growth supporting factors, enzymes degrading the extracellular matrix or angiogenic factors, the tumor stroma may also serve as a target for immune intervention. To this end several antigens have been identified which are induced or upregulated on the tumor stroma. Tumor stroma-associated antigens are characterized by an otherwise restricted expression pattern, particularly with respect to differentiated tissues, and they have been successfully targeted by passive and active immunotherapy in preclinical models. Moreover, some of these strategies have already been translated into clinical trials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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