How the Tumor Micromilieu Modulates the Recruitment and Activation of Colorectal Cancer-Infiltrating Lymphocytes
The successful treatment of advanced colorectal cancer disease still represents an insufficiently solved clinical challenge, which is further complicated by the fact that the majority of malignant colon tumors show only relatively low immunogenicity and therefore have only limited responsiveness to immunotherapeutic approaches, such as, for instance, the use of checkpoint inhibitors. As it has been well established over the past two decades that the local tumor microenvironment and, in particular, the quantity, quality, and activation status of intratumoral immune cells critically influence the clinical prognosis of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer and their individual benefits from immunotherapy, the enhancement of the intratumoral accumulation of cytolytic effector T lymphocytes and other cellular mediators of the antitumor immune response has emerged as a targeted objective. For the future identification and clinical validation of novel therapeutic target structures, it will thus be essential to further decipher the molecular mechanisms and cellular interactions in the intestinal tumor microenvironment, which are crucially involved in immune cell recruitment and activation. In this context, our review article aims at providing an overview of the key chemokines and cytokines whose presence in the tumor micromilieu relevantly modulates the numeric composition and antitumor capacity of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes.