Flipside of the coin: iron deficiency and colorectal cancer

  • Iron deficiency, with or without anemia, is the most frequent hematological manifestation in individuals with cancer, and is especially common in patients with colorectal cancer. Iron is a vital micronutrient that plays an essential role in many biological functions, in the context of which it has been found to be intimately linked to cancer biology. To date, however, whereas a large number of studies have comprehensively investigated and reviewed the effects of excess iron on cancer initiation and progression, potential interrelations of iron deficiency with cancer have been largely neglected and are not well-defined. Emerging evidence indicates that reduced iron intake and low systemic iron levels are associated with the pathogenesis of colorectal cancer, suggesting that optimal iron intake must be carefully balanced to avoid both iron deficiency and iron excess. Since iron is vital in the maintenance of immunological functions, insufficient iron availability may enhance oncogenicity by impairing immunosurveillance for neoplastic changes and potentially altering the tumor immune microenvironment. Data from clinical studies support these concepts, showing that iron deficiency is associated with inferior outcomes and reduced response to therapy in patients with colorectal cancer. Here, we elucidate cancer-related effects of iron deficiency, examine preclinical and clinical evidence of its role in tumorigenesis, cancer progression and treatment response. and highlight the importance of adequate iron supplementation to limit these outcomes.

Download full text files

Export metadata

Author:Aysegül AksanORCiD, Karima Farrag, Sami Aksan, Oliver SchröderGND, Jürgen SteinORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in immunology
Publisher:Frontiers Media
Place of publication:Lausanne
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/03/11
Date of first Publication:2021/03/11
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2021/06/09
Tag:colorectal cancer; immune host defense; intravenous iron therapy; iron deficiency; iron deficiency anemia
Issue:art. 635899
Page Number:12
First Page:1
Last Page:12
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0