Deciphering colorectal cancer immune microenvironment transcriptional landscape on single cell resolution – a role for immunotherapy

Francis Yew Fu Tieng, Learn-Han Lee, Nurul-Syakima Ab Mutalib

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) is a novel high-throughput technique that enables the investigation of a single cell’s entire transcriptome. It elucidates intricate cellular networks and generates indices that will eventually enable the development of more targeted and personalized medications. The importance of scRNA-seq has been highlighted in complex biological systems such as cancer and the immune system, which exhibit significant cellular heterogeneity. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death globally. Chemotherapy continues to be used to treat these patients. However, 5-FU has been utilized in chemotherapy regimens with oxaliplatin and irinotecan since the 1960s and is still used today. Additionally, chemotherapy-resistant metastatic CRCs with poor prognoses have been treated with immunotherapy employing monoclonal antibodies, immune checkpoint inhibitors, adoptive cell therapy and cancer vaccines. Personalized immunotherapy employing tumor-specific neoantigens allows for treating each patient as a distinct group. Sequencing and multi-omics approaches have helped us identify patients more precisely in the last decade. The introduction of modern methods and neoantigen-based immunotherapy may usher in a new era in treating CRC. The unmet goal is to better understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that contribute to CRC pathogenesis and resistance to treatment, identify novel therapeutic targets, and make more stratified and informed treatment decisions using single cell approaches. This review summarizes current scRNA-seq utilization in CRC research, examining its potential utility in the development of precision immunotherapy for CRC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number959705
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2022


  • colorectal cancer
  • immune landscape
  • immunotherapy
  • metastasis
  • precision medicine
  • single cell
  • tumor immune microenvironment

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