Current Colorectal Cancer Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 227-240

First online:

Biological Markers in Patients with Early-Stage Colon Cancer: Consensus and Controversies

  • Kathryn M. FieldAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Oncology, Royal Melbourne HospitalLudwig Colorectal Cancer Initiative, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Melbourne - Parkville Branch Email author 
  • , John R. ZalcbergAffiliated withDivision of Cancer Medicine, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, St. Andrews PlaceDepartment of Medicine, University of Melbourne Email author 

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Colorectal cancer is one of the most common malignancies in the Westernized world. Particularly in the setting of metastatic disease, advances in the use of biomarkers have resulted in “personalized therapy” being an aspect of routine care. However, their role is less clear-cut in the context of adjuvant treatment for early-stage colon cancer. We still largely rely on conventional TNM staging to determine prognosis and treatment options in early-stage disease. Ongoing research is elucidating alternative measures, in the form of prognostic and predictive biomarkers, which may better assist in understanding the wide spectrum of outcomes in early-stage disease; as well as the potential to select and tailor appropriate therapeutic options for an individual rather than simply treating a disease and a “cancer stage”. This review outlines key discoveries and controversies in the application of biomarkers to tailor treatment in early-stage colon cancer.


Colorectal cancer Biomarkers K-ras B-raf Prognostic Predictive Microsatellite instability Mismatch repair Colon cancer Adjuvant Chemotherapy Chromosomal instability CIMP