Attempts to generate an anticancer immune response in vivo in patients with cancer have taken several forms. Although to date there have been relatively few published studies describing the effects of the approach in hematologic malignancy, that circumstance is expected to change rapidly during the next few years. In solid tumors, it is not known which, if any, of the approaches being explored will be able to produce responses of sufficient effectiveness and duration to be of general clinical value. Despite the documented increase in survival of patients developing an immune response to tumor immunization, no randomized clinical trial has been entirely convincing. As knowledge of the molecular basis of the immune response and of the immune defenses used by cancer cells improves, it is reasonable to expect to see increasing benefits from tumor vaccines, which are likely to complement, long before they replace, conventional therapies.
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