Therapeutic vaccines in renal cell carcinoma

Thomas Schwaab and Marc S Ernstoff

Metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) is a lethal disease. The advent of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has changed the disease process, yet the majority of patients will develop treatment-resistant disease. IL-2 based immunotherapy in mRCC is the only US FDA-approved treatment with curative results. Immunotherapeutic vaccine approaches to mRCC have been under investigation for several decades with mixed results. The recent FDA-approval of the first cellular immunotherapy in prostate cancer (Provenge®) has reinvigorated the search for similar vaccines approaches in mRCC. This review introduces the concepts and different features required for a successful anticancer vaccine approach.