In the search for novel therapeutic approaches to treat patients with colorectal carcinoma, anticancer vaccination holds promise. A large body of preclinical and clinical evidence has demonstrated that the immune system can be polarized against malignant cells by means of several active specific immunotherapy strategies. Although no vaccination regimen can be currently recommended outside clinical trials, tumor response and immunologic findings observed in animal models and humans prompt researchers to explore further the antitumor potential of such biotherapy in an effort to reproduce in a larger set of patients the cascade of molecular events that characterizes the successful tumor immune rejection currently observed in a minority of vaccinated subjects. In this work, we summarize the principles and the main results of cancer vaccine strategies so far implemented for the treatment of patients with colorectal carcinoma. We also discuss the most recent preclinical tumor immunology insights that might change the way to design the next generation of cancer vaccines, hopefully improving the effectiveness of such a biotherapeutic approach.
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