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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2011, Article ID 104926, 7 pages
Review Article

Recent Advance in Antigen-Specific Immunotherapy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Department of Hematology and Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, 54 Shogoin Kawara-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan

Received 4 July 2011; Accepted 18 August 2011

Academic Editor: Hans Wilhelm Nijman

Copyright © 2011 Norimitsu Kadowaki and Toshio Kitawaki. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Relapse after chemotherapy is inevitable in the majority of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Thus, it is necessary to develop novel therapies that have different antileukemic mechanisms. Recent advances in immunology and identification of promising leukemia-associated antigens open the possibilities for eradicating minimal residual diseases by antigen-specific immunotherapy after chemotherapy. Several methods have been pursued as immunotherapies for AML: peptide vaccines, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor-secreting tumor vaccines, dendritic cell vaccines, and adoptive T cell therapy. Whereas immunogenicity and clinical outcomes are improving in these trials, severe adverse events were observed in highly avid engineered T cell therapies, indicating the importance of the balance between effectiveness and side effects in advanced immunotherapy. Such progress in inducing antitumor immune responses, together with strategies to attenuate immunosuppressive factors, will establish immunotherapy as an important armament to combat AML.