Immune checkpoint inhibitors in colorectal cancer: Challenges and future prospects.

Shima Makaremi, Zahra Asadzadeh, Nima Hemmat, Amir Baghbanzadeh, Alessandro Sgambato, Farid Ghorbaninezhad, Hossein Safarpour, Antonella Argentiero, Oronzo Brunetti, Renato Bernardini, Nicola Silvestris, Behzad Baradaran

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Immunotherapy is a new pillar of cancer therapy that provides novel opportunities to treat solid tumors. In this context, the development of new drugs targeting immune checkpoints is considered a promising approach in colorectal cancer (CRC) treatment because it can be induce specific and durable anti-cancer effects. Despite many advances in the immunotherapy of CRC, there are still limitations and obstacles to successful treatment. The immunosuppressive function of the tumor microenvironment (TME) is one of the causes of poor response to treatment in CRC patients. For this reason, checkpoint-blocking antibodies have shown promising outcomes in CRC patients by blocking inhibitory immune checkpoints and enhancing immune responses against tumors. This review summarizes recent advances in immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), such as CTLA-4, PD-1, PD-L1, LAG-3, and TIM-3 in CRC, and it discusses various therapeutic strategies with ICIs, including the double blockade of ICIs, combination therapy of ICIs with other immunotherapies, and conventional treatments. This review also delineates a new hopeful path in the combination of anti-PD-1/anti-PD-L1 with other ICIs such as anti-CTLA-4, anti-LAG-3, and anti-TIM-3 for CRC treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1075
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 24 2021


  • Cancer immunotherapy
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Immune checkpoints
  • Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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