Cells. 2023 Aug 25;12(17):2147. doi: 10.3390/cells12172147.
In the emerging era of cancer immunotherapy, immune checkpoint blockades (ICBs) and adoptive cell transfer therapies (ACTs) have gained significant attention. However, their therapeutic efficacies are limited due to the presence of cold type tumors, immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, and immune-related side effects. On the other hand, dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccines have been suggested as a new cancer immunotherapy regimen that can address the limitations encountered by ICBs and ACTs. Despite the success of the first generation of DC-based vaccines, represented by the first FDA-approved DC-based therapeutic cancer vaccine Provenge, several challenges remain unsolved. Therefore, new DC vaccine strategies have been actively investigated. This review addresses the limitations of the currently most adopted classical DC vaccine and evaluates new generations of DC vaccines in detail, including biomaterial-based, immunogenic cell death-inducing, mRNA-pulsed, DC small extracellular vesicle (sEV)-based, and tumor sEV-based DC vaccines. These innovative DC vaccines are envisioned to provide a significant breakthrough in cancer immunotherapy landscape and are expected to be supported by further preclinical and clinical studies.