Introduction: Spontaneous regression of cancer is an exceptional but well-documented biological event. Further understanding of this phenomenon and harnessing of the mechanisms involved will have significant preventative and therapeutic implications.
Discussion: In this review, the literature of spontaneous regression of colon or rectal cancer is reviewed from 1965 to 2005 to update reviews by Everson et al., Boyd and Challis et al. By adding to these, the author reports the entire series of colorectal cancer, which underwent documented spontaneous regression from 1900 to 2005. The demographic and pathologic characteristics, the details of regression and the outcome of reported cases are presented and discussed. Special emphasis is placed on identifying possible causes hypothesized by authors for occurrence of regression. Possible mechanisms operating to affect these regressions are also discussed.