Colorectal cancer is the third most common diagnosed cancer in both women and men. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. The disease prognosis and clinical responses to therapy are largely influenced by the immune system. This is why it is important to better understand the cancer-immune interaction and how we can improve the cancer treatment by targeting our immune cells.
During my PhD research, I focused on a specific immune cell, the mast cell, which is abundantly present in colorectal cancer tissue. By using 2D and 3D coculture models, a molecular mechanism of how mast cells may influence cancer growth was delineated and it was shown that two-way communication between mast cells and cancer cells could enhance tumor growth. This thesis proposes new strategies for colorectal cancer treatment by targeting mast cells.