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Rüttinger, D.; Winter, H.; van den Engel, N. K.; Hatz, R. A.; Schlemmer, M.; Pohlac, H.; Grützner, S.; Schendel, D. J.; Fox, B. A.; Jauch, Karl-Walter (2006): Immunotherapy of lung cancer: An update. In: Onkologie, No. 1-2: pp. 33-38




In Germany lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-associated death in men. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation may enhance survival of patients suffering from lung cancer but the enhancement is typically transient and mostly absent with advanced disease; eventually more than 90% of lung cancer patients will die of disease. New approaches to the treatment of lung cancer are urgently needed. Immunotherapy may represent one new approach with low toxicity and high specificity but implementation has been a challenge because of the poor antigenic characterization of these tumors and their ability to escape immune responses. Several different immunotherapeutic treatment strategies have been developed. This review examines the current state of development and recent advances with respect to non-specific immune stimulation, cellular immunotherapy ( specific and non-specific), therapeutic cancer vaccines and gene therapy for lung cancer. The focus is primarily placed on immunotherapeutic cancer treatments that are already in clinical trial or well progressed in preclinical studies. Although there seems to be a promising future for immunotherapy in lung cancer, presently there is not standard immunotherapy available for clinical routine.