Published online Apr 14, 2014. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i14.3751
Revised: January 16, 2014
Accepted: February 26, 2014
Published online: April 14, 2014
Core tip: Many new drugs are available for use in the treatment of colorectal cancer, resulting in improved prognosis, but also more frequent and severe side-effects. In order to implement complex chemotherapy regimens most effectively, a greater understanding of the underlying mechanisms of associated toxicities are required. Different chemotherapeutic agents activate a diverse range of pro-inflammatory pathways culminating in distinct histopathological changes in intestinal mucosa. However, inflammation also has beneficial effects; enhancing anti-tumor immunity. A better understanding of how to manage the gastrointestinal side-effects of chemotherapy allowing for optimal dosing and induction of immunity will further improve outcomes in colorectal cancer.