Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer diagnosed worldwide and is heterogeneous both morphologically and molecularly. In an era of personalized medicine, the greatest challenge is to predict individual response to therapy and distinguish patients likely to be cured with surgical resection of tumors and systemic therapy from those resistant or non-responsive to treatment. Patients would avoid futile treatments, including clinical trial regimes and ultimately this would prevent under-and over-treatment and reduce unnecessary adverse side effects. In this review, the potential of specific biomarkers will be explored to address two key questions—1) Can the prognosis of patients that will fare well or poorly be determined beyond currently recognized prognostic indicators? and 2) Can an individual patient’s response to therapy be predicted and those who will most likely benefit from treatment/s be identified? Identifying and validating key prognostic and predictive biomarkers and an understanding of the underlying mechanisms of drug resistance and toxicity in CRC are important steps in order to personalize treatment. This review addresses recent data on biological prognostic and predictive biomarkers in CRC. In addition, patient cohorts most likely to benefit from currently available systemic treatments and/or targeted therapies are discussed in this review.
- Colorectal cancer
- Consensus molecular subtypes