Current and future biomarkers in colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer (CRC), one of the leading causes of death among cancer patients, is a heterogeneous disease and is characterized by diversions in multiple molecular pathways throughout its evolutionary process. To date, specific mutations in RAS and RAF genes are tested in everyday clinical practice along with mismatch repair gene deficiency, serving either as prognostic or predictive biomarkers, providing information for patient risk stratification and the choice of appropriate therapy. However, ongoing studies are focusing on the potential role of recently discovered genetic and epigenetic alterations in the management of CRC patients and their potential prognostic or predictive value. To overcome the problem of tumor heterogeneity as well as the practical obstacles of access to tumor tissue, and to achieve real-time monitoring of disease and therapy efficacy, liquid biopsies constitute a novel technology worth exploring. CRC screening and management is entering a new era where molecular testing will be applied to genomic material extracted from easily accessible bodily fluids.
Keywords Colorectal cancer, biomarkers, prognostic and predictive markers, liquid biopsies
Ann Gastroenterol 2017; 30 (6): 613-621