Therapeutic Vaccination in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma—A Review

K. Devaraja, Sadhna Aggarwal, Manisha Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Therapeutic vaccination is one of the most effective immunotherapeutic approaches, second only to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), which have already been approved for clinical use. Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) are heterogenous epithelial tumors of the upper aerodigestive tract, and a significant proportion of these tumors tend to exhibit unfavorable therapeutic responses to the existing treatment options. Comprehending the immunopathology of these tumors and choosing an appropriate immunotherapeutic maneuver seems to be a promising avenue for solving this problem. The current review provides a detailed overview of the strategies, targets, and candidates for therapeutic vaccination in HNSCC. The classical principle of inducing a potent, antigen-specific, cell-mediated cytotoxicity targeting a specific tumor antigen seems to be the most effective mechanism of therapeutic vaccination, particularly against the human papilloma virus positive subset of HNSCC. However, approaches such as countering the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment of HNSCC and immune co-stimulatory mechanisms have also been explored recently, with encouraging results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number634
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 03-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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