Colorectal cancer (CRC), a multi-step malignancy showing increasing incidence in today’s societies, represents an important worldwide health issue. Exogenous factors, such as lifestyle, diet, nutrition, environment and microbiota, contribute to CRC pathogenesis, also influencing non neoplastic cells, including immune cells. Several immune dysfunctions were described in CRC patients at different disease stages. Many studies underline the role of microbiota, obesity-related inflammation, diet and host reactive cells, including dendritic cells (DC), in CRC pathogenesis. Here, we focused on DC, the main cells linking innate and adaptive anti-cancer immunity. Variations in the number and phenotype of circulating and tumor-infiltrating DC have been found in CRC patients and correlated with disease stages and progression. A critical review of DC-based clinical studies and of recent advances in cancer immunotherapy leads to consider new strategies for combining DC vaccination strategies with check-point inhibitors, thus opening perspectives for a more effective management of this neoplastic disease.
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