Classification of current anticancer immunotherapies

Lorenzo Galluzzi, Erika Vacchelli, José Manuel Bravo-San Pedro, Aitziber Buqué, Laura Senovilla, Elisa Elena Baracco, Norma Bloy, Francesca Castoldi, Jean Pierre Abastado, Patrizia Agostinis, Ron N. Apte, Fernando Aranda, Maha Ayyoub, Philipp Beckhove, Jean Yves Blay, Laura Bracci, Anne Caignard, Chiara Castelli, Federica Cavallo, Estaban CelisVincenzo Cerundolo, Aled Clayton, Mario P. Colombo, Lisa Coussens, Madhav V. Dhodapkar, Alexander M. Eggermont, Douglas T. Fearon, Wolf H. Fridman, Jitka Fucíková, Dmitry I. Gabrilovich, Jérôme Galon, Abhishek Garg, François Ghiringhelli, Giuseppe Giaccone, Eli Gilboa, Sacha Gnjatic, Axel Hoos, Anne Hosmalin, Dirk Jäger, Pawel Kalinski, Klas Kärre, Oliver Kepp, Rolf Kiessling, John M. Kirkwood, Eva Klein, Alexander Knuth, Claire E. Lewis, Roland Liblau, Michael T. Lotze, Enrico Lugli, Jean Pierre Mach, Fabrizio Mattei, Domenico Mavilio, Ignacio Melero, Cornelis J. Melief, Elizabeth A. Mittendorf, Lorenzo Moretta, Adekunke Odunsi, Hideho Okada, Anna Karolina Palucka, Marcus E. Peter, Kenneth J. Pienta, Angel Porgador, George C. Prendergast, Gabriel A. Rabinovich, Nicholas P. Restifo, Naiyer Rizvi, Catherine Sautès-Fridman, Hans Schreiber, Barbara Seliger, Hiroshi Shiku, Bruno Silva-Santos, Mark J. Smyth, Daniel E. Speiser, Radek Spisek, Pramod K. Srivastava, James E. Talmadge, Eric Tartour, Sjoerd H. Van Der Burg, Benoît J. Van Den Eynde, Richard Vile, Hermann Wagner, Jeffrey S. Weber, Theresa L. Whiteside, Jedd D. Wolchok, Laurence Zitvogel, Weiping Zou, Guido Kroemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

372 Scopus citations


During the past decades, anticancer immunotherapy has evolved from a promising therapeutic option to a robust clinical reality. Many immunotherapeutic regimens are now approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency for use in cancer patients, and many others are being investigated as standalone therapeutic interventions or combined with conventional treatments in clinical studies. Immunotherapies may be subdivided into "passive" and "active" based on their ability to engage the host immune system against cancer. Since the anticancer activity of most passive immunotherapeutics (including tumor-targeting monoclonal antibodies) also relies on the host immune system, this classification does not properly reflect the complexity of the drug-host-tumor interaction. Alternatively, anticancer immunotherapeutics can be classified according to their antigen specificity. While some immunotherapies specifically target one (or a few) defined tumor-associated antigen(s), others operate in a relatively non-specific manner and boost natural or therapy-elicited anticancer immune responses of unknown and often broad specificity. Here, we propose a critical, integrated classification of anticancer immunotherapies and discuss the clinical relevance of these approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12472-12508
Number of pages37
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Adoptive cell transfer
  • Checkpoint blockers
  • DNA-based vaccines
  • Dendritic cell-based interventions
  • Immunostimulatory cytokines
  • Oncolytic viruses
  • Peptide-based vaccines
  • Toll-like receptor agonists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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