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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2011, Article ID 320571, 17 pages
Review Article

T Cells and Adoptive Immunotherapy: Recent Developments and Future Prospects in Gastrointestinal Oncology

1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Florence, Viale Morgagni 85, 50134 Florence, Italy
2Dipartimento Biomedicina, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Careggi, Viale Morgagni 85, 50134 Florence, Italy

Received 1 July 2011; Accepted 24 August 2011

Academic Editor: Clelia M. Riera

Copyright © 2011 Amedeo Amedei et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Gastrointestinal oncology is one of the foremost causes of death: the gastric cancer accounts for 10.4% of cancer deaths worldwide, the pancreatic cancer for 6%, and finally, the colorectal cancer for 9% of all cancer-related deaths. For all these gastrointestinal cancers, surgical tumor resection remains the primary curative treatment, but the overall 5-year survival rate remains poor, ranging between 20–25%; the addition of combined modality strategies (pre- or postoperative chemoradiotherapy or perioperative chemotherapy) results in 5-year survival rates of only 30–35%. Therefore, many investigators believe that the potential for making significant progress lies on understanding and exploiting the molecular biology of gastrointestinal tumors to investigate new therapeutic strategies such as specific immunotherapy. In this paper we will focus on recent knowledge concerning the role of T cells and the use of T adoptive immunotherapy in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers.