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New therapies and insights into the changing landscape of colorectal cancer

In 2018, advances were made in immunotherapy for colorectal cancers with microsatellite instability but, by contrast, immunotherapy studies in microsatellite-stable colorectal cancer had disappointing results. However, novel insights into the tumour microenvironment barriers that might limit therapeutic efficacy were identified, thereby offering new strategies.

Key advances

  • The incidence of colorectal cancer in young patients continues to rise leading to changes in a key guideline for age of first screening1.

  • Nivolumab and ipiliumumab in combination were approved for treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer with microsatellite instability3.

  • TGFβ was identified as a key modulator of the immunosuppressive tumour microenvironment in microsatellite stable colorectal cancer5.

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Fig. 1: Colorectal cancer immunotherapy advances in 2018.


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Correspondence to Scott Kopetz.

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Kopetz, S. New therapies and insights into the changing landscape of colorectal cancer. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 16, 79–80 (2019).

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