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Cancer immunotherapy is experiencing a renaissance spearheaded by immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). This has spurred interest in 'upgrading' existing immunotherapies that previously experienced only sporadic success, such as dendritic cells (DCs) vaccines. In this review, we discuss the major molecular, immunological, and clinical determinants of existing first- and second-generation DC vaccines. We also outline the future trends for next-generation DC vaccines and describe their major hallmarks and prerequisites necessary for high anticancer efficacy. In addition, using existing data we compare DC vaccines with ICIs targeting CTLA4, PD1, and PD-L1, and argue that in various contexts next-generation DC vaccines are ready to meet some challenges currently confronting ICIs, thereby raising the need to integrate DC vaccines in future combinatorial immunotherapy regimens.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Immunol

Publication Date





577 - 593


Antigens, Neoplasm, Cancer Vaccines, Chemotherapy, Adjuvant, Dendritic Cells, Humans, Immunotherapy, Molecular Targeted Therapy, Neoplasms