International Journal of Colorectal Disease

, Volume 29, Issue 9, pp 1031–1042 | Cite as

Advances in the management of colorectal cancer: from biology to treatment

  • Shahid Ahmed
  • Kate Johnson
  • Osama Ahmed
  • Nayyer Iqbal



Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common malignant neoplasm worldwide and the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths. This article reviews the epidemiology, risk factors, pathogenesis, and prognosis of CRC with special emphasis on advances in the management of CRC over the past decade.


A review of the published English literature was conducted using the search engines PubMed, Medline, EMBASE, and Google Scholar. A total of 127 relevant publications were identified for further review.


Most CRC are sporadic and are due to genetic instability and multiple somatic mutations. Approximately 80 % of cancers are diagnosed at the early stage and are curable. The pathologic stage at presentation is the most important predictor of outcome after resection of early stage cancer. Surgery is the primary treatment modality for localized CRC. Advances in (neo)adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation have reduced the disease recurrence and increased survival in high risk diseases. Although recent advancements in combination chemotherapy and target agents have increased the survival of incurable CRC, it is remarkable that only selected patients with advanced CRC can be cured with multimodality therapy.


Over the past decade, there has seen substantial progress in our understanding of and in the management of CRC.


Colorectal cancer Colon cancer Rectal cancer Management Advances 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shahid Ahmed
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Kate Johnson
    • 2
  • Osama Ahmed
    • 2
  • Nayyer Iqbal
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Saskatchewan Cancer AgencyReginaCanada
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Community Health and EpidemiologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  4. 4.Saskatoon Cancer CenterUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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