Ovarian cancer remains the deadliest of all gynecologic malignancies. Our expanding knowledge of ovarian cancer immunology has allowed the development of therapies that generate systemic anti-tumor immune responses. Current immunotherapeutic strategies include immune checkpoint blockade, cellular therapies, and cancer vaccines. Vaccine-based therapies are designed to induce both adaptive and innate immune responses directed against ovarian cancer associated antigens. Tumor-specific effector cells, in particular cytotoxic T cells, are activated to recognize and eliminate ovarian cancer cells. Vaccines for ovarian cancer have been studied in various clinical trials over the last three decades. Despite evidence of vaccine-induced humoral and cellular immune responses, the majority of vaccines have not shown significant anti-tumor efficacy. Recently, improved vaccine development using dendritic cells or synthetic platforms for antigen presentation have shown promising clinical benefits in patients with ovarian cancer. In this review, we provide an overview of therapeutic vaccine development in ovarian cancer, discuss proposed mechanisms of action, and summarize the current clinical experience.
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