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Eur J Cancer. 2006 Jul;42(11):1653-60. Epub 2006 Jun 22.

Active immunotherapy of multiple myeloma.

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Department of Haematology/Oncology, Freiburg University Medical Center, Hugstetter Strasse 55, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany.


Since myeloma cells express various potential target antigens, active immunotherapy is being investigated as a novel treatment modality for myeloma. Immunization against the clonal myeloma immunoglobulin (idiotype) elicits protective immunity in mouse models. Idiotype vaccination of myeloma patients can induce cellular immunity, albeit as yet without firm evidence for improved clinical outcome. Other tumour-associated antigens (including cancer/testis antigens) are expressed with various frequencies in myeloma. T cells with specificity for these antigens may exist in myeloma patients, and immunization trials with some of these antigens are ongoing. Future studies need to identify the best antigen, the optimal vaccine formulation and schedule, and the preferable clinical situation for vaccination with myeloma antigens. In addition, immunization of stem cell donors with myeloma antigens may improve the efficacy and outcome of allogeneic stem cell transplantation through transfer of idiotype-directed immunity to the patient, and has already shown promising clinical results.

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