, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 227-240
Date: 28 Jun 2011

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

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Abstract

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.