Revolutionizing the Landscape of Colorectal Cancer Treatment: The Potential Role of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Colorectal Cancer

Tolba MF. Int J Cancer 2020.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) represents the third cause of cancer-related mortalities worldwide. The progression of CRC to the metastatic phase significantly compromises the overall survival rates. Despite the advances in the therapeutic protocols, CRC treatment is still challenging. Cancer immunotherapy joined the ranks of surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted therapy as the fifth pillar in the foundation of cancer therapeutics. Interruption of the immunosuppressive signals within the

tumor microenvironment and reactivation of antitumor immunity via targeting the molecular immune checkpoints generated promising therapeutic outcomes in several types of hard-to-treat cancers. The year 2017 witnessed the first US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) immunotherapy for the management of CRC. The approval was granted to pembrolizumab (anti-PD-1) for the treatment of patients with advanced/metatstatic solid malignancies with mismatch-repair deficiency including CRCs. Such natively immunogenic tumors constitute only a minor percentage of all CRCs. Therefore, it is imperative to utilize novel combinatorial regimens to enhance the response of a wider range of CRC tumors to cancer immunotherapy and help in extending the survival rates in patients with advanced/metastatic disease. This review highlights the novel approaches under clinical development to overcome the resistance of CRCs to immunotherapy and improve the therapeutic outcomes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.