Surg Oncol 2012 Jun 2;21(2):67-77. Epub 2011 Feb 2.
Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, NHS, Birmingham, West Midlands, UK.
Background: Colorectal cancer remains one of the leading causes of death in the world. Surgery still remains the mainstay of treatment for primary and metastatic colorectal cancer. Immunotherapy used as an adjunct to surgery can play an important role in controlling the spread of tumour.
Methods: The online databases PubMed, Medline, Scirus and Medscape Oncology were used to identify articles of relevance. Keywords included; "Immunotherapy", "Cellular Immunotherapy", "Metastatic Colorectal Cancer", "Monoclonal Antibody" "Tumour Vaccines" and "Adoptive Cell Therapy". The databases search was from the period of June 1995 until May 2010 inclusive.
Results: Our understanding of tumour immunology has allowed the development of some successful therapies. Immunotherapy through the use of monoclonal antibodies is an effective adjunct to chemotherapy for metastatic colorectal cancer. Other modalities that are in the stages of development are cellular and conjugated vaccines. However, these vaccines are being experimented in advanced stages of colorectal tumours.
Conclusion: Colorectal cancer vaccines are being developed for advanced stages of colorectal tumour. However, their use as an early adjunct could potentially limit the spread of tumour or even result in cure. Further trials are required to ensure the safety and efficacy of cellular vaccines against colorectal tumours to allow their use on patients early in their disease presentation.
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