Current Colorectal Cancer Reports

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 380–390 | Cite as

Status of Active Specific Immunotherapy for Stage II, Stage III, and Resected Stage IV Colon Cancer

  • Vanessa DeschoolmeesterEmail author
  • Evelien Smits
  • Marc Peeters
  • Jan B. Vermorken
Immunotherapy of Malignancy (MA Morse, Section Editor)


Colorectal cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer worldwide and a leading cause of cancer-related mortality. The reported incidence of recurrent disease increases with the stage, and the 5-year survival rate is poor, especially for tumors with regional spread and for late-stage disease. This has prompted the search for more advanced treatment options, and therefore avenues for clinical testing of rationally designed immunotherapeutic strategies, including vaccination, as adjuvant treatment are being explored. In this review, we discuss the study design and results of the clinical trials that have been conducted using active specific immunotherapy in colorectal cancer, including autologous and allogeneic tumor cell vaccines, peptide vaccines, viral-vector-based vaccines, and dendritic-cell-based vaccines as well as some future recommendations.


Active specific immunotherapy Colon cancer Clinical trials Immune cells T cells Vaccine Viral vector vaccines Dendritic cell vaccines Peptide vaccines Allogeneic whole tumor cell vaccines Autologous tumor cell vaccines 


Compliance with ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Vanessa Deschoolmeester, Evelien Smits, and Marc Peeters declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Jan B. Vermorken has served as a board member for Vaccinogen, has received payment for lectures, including service on speakers bureaus, from Merck Serono, and has received compensation for the development of educational presentations from Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa Deschoolmeester
    • 1
    Email author
  • Evelien Smits
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marc Peeters
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jan B. Vermorken
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology, Center for Oncological Research AntwerpUniversity of AntwerpWilrijkBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratory of Experimental Hematology (LEH), Vaccine and Infectious Disease InstituteUniversity of AntwerpWilrijkBelgium
  3. 3.Department of OncologyAntwerp University HospitalEdegemBelgium

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