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Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2013 May;9(5):1069-72. doi: 10.4161/hv.23844. Epub 2013 Feb 1.

Current status of immunotherapy for the treatment of biliary tract cancer.

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Department of Surgery; Kurume University School of Medicine; Kurume, Japan.


Biliary tract cancer (BTC) is one of the most aggressive malignancies. Although various promising regimens of chemotherapeutic and/or molecular targeted agents have been developed, further treatment modalities, including immunotherapies, still remain to be established for refractory patients who are unresponsive to or relapse after currently available therapeutic options for BTC. Recently, several clinical trials of immunotherapies, including peptide-based vaccines and dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccines, have been reported with promising results. Here we summarize the data from phase I or phase II clinical trials of immunotherapies for BTC. In particular, we introduce our novel immunotherapeutic approach called personalized peptide vaccine (PPV), in which HLA-matched peptides were selected and administered based on the pre-existing host immunity before vaccination, for the treatment of advanced BTC. Further clinical trials would be recommended to prove clinical benefits of these novel immunotherapeutic approaches. Recently concomitant treatments, such as chemotherapies and immune checkpoint blockade, have been reported to enhance the therapeutic effects of cancer immunotherapies through multiple coordinated immune mechanisms. Additional therapies in combination with immunotherapies could produce synergistic effects in the treatment of advanced BTC.


biliary tract cancer; biomarker; clinical trial; dendritic cell vaccine; immunotherapy; peptide vaccine; personalized vaccine

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