The use of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) has substantially increased the overall survival of cancer patients and has revolutionized the therapeutic situation in oncology. However, not all patients and cancer types respond to ICI, or become resistant over time. Combining ICIs with therapeutic cancer vaccines is a promising option as vaccination may help to overcome resistance to immunotherapies while immunotherapies may increase immune responses to the particular cancer vaccine by reinvigorating exhausted T cells. Thus, it would be possible to reprogram a response with appropriate vaccines, using a particular cancer antigen and a corresponding ICI. Target populations include currently untreatable cancer patients or those who receive treatment regimens with high risk of serious side effects. In addition, with the increased use of ICI in clinical practice, questions arise regarding safety and efficacy of administration of conventional vaccines, such as influenza or COVID-19 vaccines, during active ICI treatment. This review discusses the main principles of prophylactic and therapeutic cancer vaccines, the potential impact on combining therapeutic cancer vaccines with ICI, and briefly summarizes the current knowledge of safety and effectiveness of influenza and COVID-19 vaccines in ICI-treated patients.
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