The potential role of immunotherapy to treat colorectal cancer

Manik Amin, Albert Craig Lockhart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Introduction: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and anti-angiogenic therapies form the backbone of treatment for CRC in various stages. Immunotherapy is frequently used either alone or in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of various cancers such as melanoma, prostate cancer and renal cell cancer. Current CRC research is moving forward to discover ways to incorporate immunotherapies into the treatment of CRC.Areas covered: The aim of this review is to summarize the potential role of immunotherapy in CRC. Herein, the authors provide a brief overview of immune modulatory cells, immune surveillance and escape in CRC. They also review vaccine trials in addition to cytokines and monoclonal antibodies. This coverage includes ongoing trials and checkpoint inhibitors such as cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-1, programmed cell death-1, and PDL1.Expert opinion: Checkpoint inhibitors in combination with either chemotherapy or chemo-antiangiogenic-therapy may represent a future therapeutic approach for CRC incorporating immune system targeting. Given the success of immune-based therapy in other tumor types, the authors anticipate that a similar breakthrough in CRC will be forthcoming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-344
Number of pages16
JournalExpert Opinion on Investigational Drugs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2015


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Immune modulatory cells
  • Immune surveillance
  • Immunotherapy


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