T cell subsets and colorectal cancer: discerning the good from the bad

Cell Immunol. 2012 Sep;279(1):21-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cellimm.2012.08.004. Epub 2012 Sep 14.


Tumor-specific T cells must overcome a multitude of suppressive mechanisms to destroy cancerous cells effectively. Furthermore, it appears that the tumor microenvironment facilitates the development of highly immunosuppressive T cells, which may also allow subsequent tumor progression. In colorectal cancer, the relationship between regulatory T cells (e.g. FoxP3(+) Tregs) and tumor prognosis and progression is less clear, despite their well-documented ability to impinge on anti-tumor immune responses. Here we explore our current knowledge of colorectal TIL heterogeneity, deciphering subsets which may be of benefit or detriment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / immunology
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / metabolism
  • Models, Immunological
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / metabolism
  • Tumor Microenvironment / immunology*


  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors