Immunology Case Reports

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Opinion Article - Immunology Case Reports (2023) Volume 6, Issue 3

Role of the Innate and Adaptive Immune Response in Inflammation-Associated Colon Cancer

Maurizio Curran*

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa, Italy

*Corresponding Author:
Maurizio Curran
Department of Internal Medicine
University of Genoa

Received:22-May-2023, Manuscript No. AAICR-23-101420; Editor assigned:25-May-2023, PreQC No. AAICR-23-101420(PQ); Reviewed:08-Jun-2023, QC No. AAICR-23-101420; Revised:12-Jun-2023, Manuscript No. AAICR-23-101420(R); Published:20-Jun-2023, DOI:10.35841/aaicr-6.3.152

Citation: Curran M. Role of the innate and adaptive immune response in inflammation-associated colon cancer. Immunol Case Rep. 2023;6(3):152

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Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. While various factors contribute to the development of colon cancer, chronic inflammation has been identified as a critical player in its pathogenesis. Inflammation-associated colon cancer refers to tumors that arise in the context of ongoing inflammation within the colon. Understanding the intricate interplay between the immune response and inflammation in this type of cancer is crucial for devising effective therapeutic strategies. Both the innate and adaptive immune responses play pivotal roles in modulating inflammation-associated colon cancer [1].

The innate immune response acts as the body's first line of defense against foreign pathogens and tissue damage. It recognizes pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) through pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). In the context of inflammation-associated colon cancer, the innate immune response is activated by factors such as bacterial products, cytokines, and chemokines released during chronic inflammation. This response involves the recruitment of various immune cells, including macrophages, neutrophils, dendritic cells, and natural killer cells. Macrophages are key players in the innate immune response, and their presence in the tumor microenvironment is a hallmark of inflammation-associated colon cancer. These cells can be polarized into two distinct phenotypes: M1 and M2. M1 macrophages exhibit pro-inflammatory properties and contribute to the elimination of cancer cells. On the other hand, M2 macrophages promote tissue repair and angiogenesis, facilitating tumor growth and metastasis. The balance between M1 and M2 macrophages is crucial in determining the outcome of inflammation-associated colon cancer [2].

Neutrophils are another innate immune cell population involved in colon cancer-associated inflammation. They release reactive oxygen species (ROS) and proteases, contributing to tissue damage and the recruitment of other immune cells. Neutrophils can also form neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), which trap and kill microorganisms but can also promote cancer progression. The presence of neutrophils in the tumor microenvironment has been associated with poor prognosis in colon cancer patients. Dendritic cells (DCs) play a critical role in linking the innate and adaptive immune responses. They capture antigens, process them, and present them to T cells, initiating an adaptive immune response. In inflammation-associated colon cancer, DCs can be influenced by the tumor microenvironment to become tolerogenic, leading to immune evasion. This immune evasion can contribute to tumor growth and metastasis [3].

The adaptive immune response, characterized by the activation of T and B cells, plays a crucial role in targeting specific antigens and orchestrating a more targeted and long-lasting immune response. In inflammation-associated colon cancer, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), including CD4+ T cells and CD8+ cytotoxic T cells, are present in the tumor microenvironment. These TILs can recognize tumor-specific antigens and mount an immune response against cancer cells. However, chronic inflammation can lead to immune exhaustion, impairing the function of TILs and allowing cancer cells to escape immune surveillance. In addition to T cells, B cells and antibodies also contribute to the adaptive immune response in colon cancer. B cells can produce antibodies that recognize tumor-associated antigens, leading to the formation of immune complexes. These immune complexes can activate the complement system, attracting immune cells and promoting inflammation. However, the role of B cells in inflammation-associated colon cancer is complex, as some studies have suggested that B cells can have both pro- and anti-tumor effects [4].

Overall, the interplay between the innate and adaptive immune responses in inflammation-associated colon cancer is intricate and multifaceted. Chronic inflammation can initiate and promote tumor development, while the immune response aims to eliminate cancer cells. However, the balance between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory signals in the tumor microenvironment determines the ultimate outcome. Therapeutic interventions targeting immune cells and immune checkpoints hold promise for enhancing anti-tumor immune responses in colon cancer. Future research aimed at understanding the complex immune-inflammatory interactions in this disease will pave the way for improved treatment strategies and better patient outcomes [5].


The innate and adaptive immune responses play crucial roles in inflammation-associated colon cancer. Chronic inflammation within the colon initiates a cascade of immune responses, involving various immune cells and cytokines. While the innate immune response acts as the first line of defense and orchestrates the initial inflammatory reaction, the adaptive immune response aims to specifically target cancer cells and mount a targeted immune response. Macrophages, neutrophils, and dendritic cells are key players in the innate immune response, with their polarization and functions determining the outcome of inflammation-associated colon cancer. Macrophages can either promote tumor elimination or support tumor growth depending on their polarization. Neutrophils can contribute to tissue damage and promote cancer progression, while dendritic cells can become tolerogenic, leading to immune evasion.


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