Sporadic colorectal cancer is one of the most common and lethal cancers worldwide. The locations and functions of immune cells in the colorectal tumor microenvironment are complex and heterogeneous. T-helper (Th)1 cell–mediated responses against established colorectal tumors are associated with better outcomes of patients (time of relapse-free or overall survival), whereas Th17 cell–mediated responses and production of interleukin 17A (IL17A) have been associated with worse outcomes of patients. Tumors that develop in mouse models of colorectal cancer are rarely invasive and differ in many ways from human colorectal tumors. However, these mice have been used to study the mechanisms by which Th17 cells and IL17A promote colorectal tumor initiation and growth, which appear to involve their direct effects on colon epithelial cells. Specific members of the colonic microbiota may promote IL17A production and IL17A-producing cell functions in the colonic mucosa to promote carcinogenesis. Increasing our understanding of the interactions between the colonic microbiota and the mucosal immune response, the roles of Th17 cells and IL17 in these interactions, and how these processes are altered during colon carcinogenesis, could lead to new strategies for preventing or treating colorectal cancer.
- Mouse Models Colon Carcinogenesis
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