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Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer mortality in Western countries. Gene therapy has been proposed as a potential novel treatment modality for colorectal cancer, but it is still in an early stage of development. The preclinical data have been promising and numerous clinical trials are underway. This brief review aims to summarise the current status of clinical trials of different gene therapy strategies, including immune stimulation, mutant gene correction, prodrug activation and oncolytic virus therapy, for patients with colorectal cancer. Data from phase I trials have proven the safety of the reagents but have not yet demonstrated significant therapeutic benefit. In order to achieve this and extend the scope of the treatment, continuing efforts should be made to improve the antitumour potency, efficiency of gene delivery and accuracy of gene targeting.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





357 - 367


Adenoviridae, Antigen Presentation, Aziridines, Carcinoembryonic Antigen, Clinical Trials as Topic, Colorectal Neoplasms, Flucytosine, Ganciclovir, Genes, p53, Genetic Therapy, Humans, T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic