Is There a Role for Immunotherapy in Prostate Cancer?

Alessandro Rizzo, Veronica Mollica, Alessia Cimadamore, Matteo Santoni, Marina Scarpelli, Francesca Giunchi, Liang Cheng, Antonio Lopez-Beltran, Michelangelo Fiorentino, Rodolfo Montironi, Francesco Massari

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


In the last decade, immunotherapy has revolutionized the treatment landscape of several hematological and solid malignancies, reporting unprecedented response rates. Unfortunately, this is not the case for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), as several phase I and II trials assessing programmed death receptor 1 (PD-1) and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) inhibitors have shown limited benefits. Moreover, despite sipuleucel-T representing the only cancer vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for mCRPC following the results of the IMPACT trial, the use of this agent is relatively limited in everyday clinical practice. The identification of specific histological and molecular biomarkers that could predict response to immunotherapy represents one of the current challenges, with an aim to detect subgroups of mCRPC patients who may benefit from immune checkpoint monoclonal antibodies as monotherapy or in combination with other anticancer agents. Several unanswered questions remain, including the following: is there-or will there ever be-a role for immunotherapy in prostate cancer? In this review, we aim at underlining the failures and promises of immunotherapy in prostate cancer, summarizing the current state of art regarding cancer vaccines and immune checkpoint monoclonal antibodies, and discussing future research directions in this immunologically "cold" malignancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 8 2020


  • combination therapy
  • CTLA-4
  • immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • immunotherapy
  • pd-1
  • predictive biomarkers
  • prostate cancer
  • vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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  • Cite this

    Rizzo, A., Mollica, V., Cimadamore, A., Santoni, M., Scarpelli, M., Giunchi, F., Cheng, L., Lopez-Beltran, A., Fiorentino, M., Montironi, R., & Massari, F. (2020). Is There a Role for Immunotherapy in Prostate Cancer? Cells, 9(9).