The immunogenicity of colorectal cancers with high-degree microsatellite instability

World J Surg Oncol. 2005 May 12;3:26. doi: 10.1186/1477-7819-3-26.


Background: High-degree microsatellite instability (MSI-H) is a feature of approximately 15% of sporadic colorectal cancers. Patients with MSI-H cancers have been reported to have a better prognosis than those with non-MSI-H cancers. The MSI-H subset is also characterised by a dense infiltrate of intra-epithelial lymphocytes and the hypothesis that the latter represents an efficacious immune response contributing to improved outcome is very attractive.

Methods: Data for this review were identified by searches of MEDLINE, PubMed, and cross references from relevant articles using the search terms 'microsatellite instability', 'colorectal cancer' and 'immunology', 'immune response' or 'immunogenicity'.

Results: A total of 38 articles were identified by the search criteria and a further 95 articles by cross-referencing. The relevance of the articles to be interviewed was established by hand searching. Out of a total of 133 articles identified, 47 articles were rejected due to lack of relevance. A total of 86 articles were included in the review, pertaining to microsatellite instability in colorectal cancer, and immune mechanisms in colorectal cancer.

Conclusion: It is suggested that this distinct group of colorectal cancers may have inherent immunogenic properties and that further elucidation of these may be invaluable to the development of successful immunotherapy.