, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 87-98
Date: 16 Aug 2012

The Role of Molecular Markers in Predicting Response to Therapy in Patients with Colorectal Cancer

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Advances in systemic therapy for colorectal cancer have dramatically improved prognosis. While disease stage has traditionally been the main determinant of disease course, several molecular characteristics of tumor specimens have recently been shown to have prognostic significance. Although to date no molecular characteristics have emerged as consistent predictors of response to therapy, retrospective studies have investigated the role of a variety of biomarkers, including microsatellite instability, loss of heterozygosity of 18q, type II transforming growth factor β receptor, thymidylate synthase, epidermal growth factor receptor, and Kirsten-ras (KRAS). This paper reviews the current literature, ongoing prospective studies evaluating the role of these markers, and novel techniques such as gene profiling, which may help to uncover the more complex molecular interactions that will predict response to chemotherapy in patients with colorectal cancer.