Iron deficiency, immunology, and colorectal cancer

Colorectal Cancer
18/07/2020

Nutr Rev. 2020 Jul 17:nuaa040. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuaa040. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Excessive gut luminal iron contributes to the initiation and progression of colorectal cancer. However, emerging evidence suggests that reduced iron intake and low systemic iron levels are also associated with the pathogenesis of colorectal cancer. This is important because patients with colorectal cancer often present with iron deficiency. Iron is necessary for appropriate immunological functions; hence, iron deficiency may hinder cancer immunosurveillance and potentially modify the tumor


immune microenvironment, both of which may assist cancer development. This is supported by studies showing that patients with colorectal cancer with iron deficiency have inferior outcomes and reduced response to therapy. Here, we provide an overview of the immunological consequences of iron deficiency and suggest ensuring adequate iron therapy to limit these outcomes.