Ovarian cancer is an immunogenic tumor, and numerous antigens have been identified in recent years. Several of these antigens are important in regulating tumor growth and may be ideal targets for the development of immune-based strategies. In the absence of immunologic intervention, tumors evade the immune system by several mechanisms, most notably tolerance and immunosuppression. As understanding of the immune response improves, strategies are being designed to circumvent T-cell tolerance to self-antigens through modulation of APC function. In addition, techniques are being developed to identify reverse ovarian cancer-induced immune evasion tactics. The type of the immune-based therapy to apply varies with disease burden. It is hoped that discoveries at the bench along with lessons learned in prior clinical trials soon will allow clinicians to develop rationally based immunologic strategies to treat and prevent ovarian cancer.
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