The importance of the age factor in cancer vaccination at older age

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17 Scopus citations


Cancer is an age-related disease, and with the graying of the society there is an increasing need to optimize cancer management and therapy to elderly patients. Vaccine therapy for cancer is less toxic than chemotherapy or radiation and could be, therefore, especially effective in older, more frail cancer patients. However, it has been shown that older individuals do not respond to vaccine therapy as well as younger adults. This has been attributed to T cell unresponsiveness, a phenomenon also observed in cancer patients per se. Therefore, research is needed to establish whether age-specific tumor-immunological variables permit optimal use of cancer vaccines and therapy in the elderly. This review summarizes the current knowledge of T cell unresponsiveness in cancer patients and elderly, and the results of cancer vaccination in preclinical models at young and old age. Finally, new directions that may lead to effective cancer vaccination at older age will be proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1969-1977
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Cancer vaccines
  • Mage-b DNA vaccine
  • Metastatic breast cancer
  • Old age
  • T cell unresponsiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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