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Crit Rev Oncog. 2013;18(6):585-95.

Aging and cancer vaccines.

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Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


Cancer vaccination is less effective at old than at young age, due to T cell unresponsiveness. This is caused by age-related changes of the immune system. Major immune defects at older age are lack of naive T cells, impaired activation pathways of T cells and antigen-presenting cells (APC), and age-related changes in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Also innate immune responses are affected by aging, but this seems less abundant than adaptive immune responses. In this review we compared various cancer vaccine studies at young and old age, demonstrating the importance of both innate and adaptive immune responses for cancer immunotherapy. Moreover, we found suggestive evidence that innate immune responses could help improve adaptive immune responses through cancer vaccination in old age.

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