Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) have reshaped therapeutic strategies for cancer patients. The development of ICI for early stage colorectal cancer is accompanied by specific challenges: (i) the selection of patients who are likely to benefit from these treatments, i.e., patients with tumors harboring predictive factors of efficacy of ICI, such as microsatellite instability and/or mismatch repair deficiency (MSI/dMMR), or other potential parameters (increased T cell infiltration using Immunoscore®
or others, high tumor mutational burden, POLE
mutation), (ii) the selection of patients at risk of disease recurrence (poor prognostic features), and (iii) the choice of an accurate clinical trial methodological framework. In this review, we will discuss the ins and outs of clinical research of ICI for early stage MSI/dMMR CC patients in adjuvant and neoadjuvant settings. We will then summarize data that might support the development of ICI in localized colorectal cancer beyond MSI/dMMR.
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