Advances in basic immunology have led to an improved understanding of the interactions between the immune system and tumours, generating renewed interest in approaches that aim to treat cancer immunologically. As clinical and preclinical studies of tumour immunotherapy illustrate several immunological principles, a review of these data is broadly instructive and is particularly timely now that several agents are beginning to show evidence of efficacy. This is especially relevant in the case of prostate cancer, as recent approval of sipuleucel-T by the US Food and Drug Administration marks the first antigen-specific immunotherapy approved for cancer treatment. Although this Review focuses on immunotherapy for prostate cancer, the principles discussed are applicable to many tumour types, and the approaches discussed are highlighted in that context.
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