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Cancer Microenviron. 2011 Dec;4(3):377-92. doi: 10.1007/s12307-011-0068-5. Epub 2011 May 27.

Immune Cells in Colorectal Cancer: Prognostic Relevance and Role of MSI.

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Laboratory of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610, Wilrijk, Belgium,


There is growing evidence that both local and systemic inflammatory responses play an important role in the progression of a variety of solid tumors. Colorectal cancer (CRC) results from the cumulative effect of sequential genetic alterations, leading to the expression of tumor-associated antigens possibly inducing a cellular anti-tumor immune response. It is well recognized that cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTLs) constitute one of the most important effector mechanisms of anti-tumor-immunity. However, their potential prognostic influence in CRC remains controversial. In addition, other key players like natural killer cells, tumor associated macrophages and regulatory T cells play an important role in the immune attack against CRC and need further investigation. This review will mainly focus on the role of the adaptive immune system in CRC and particularly in regard to microsatellite instability.

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