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Trends Mol Med. 2001 Jul;7(7):307-13.

Vaccines for colorectal cancer.

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Division of Surgical Oncology Dept of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, 600 N. Wolfe Street, Halsted 614, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Despite recent advances in the treatment of colorectal cancer, the overall survival rate for those patients with advanced locoregional disease remains less than 50%. Although adjuvant systemic chemotherapy has improved survival of these patients, more effective therapies are needed. Immunotherapy is an approach that could have a particular role in the adjuvant therapy of colorectal cancer. There is now convincing evidence that the immune system can specifically recognize and destroy malignant cells. Although both antibody- and T-cell-mediated anti-tumor responses have been documented, the cellular immune response with its direct cytotoxic mechanisms is felt to be the principal anti-tumor arm of the immune system. Analysis of the T cells that recognize tumors has led to the identification and characterization of many tumor-associated antigens including several colorectal antigens. Current approaches to developing a vaccine for colorectal cancer use our expanded understanding of these tumor-associated antigens and the conditions that allow development of an effective cellular immune response to them.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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