Predictive markers for colorectal cancer: current status and future prospects

Daniel B Longley, Ultan McDermott, Patrick G Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Although there is clear evidence of the benefit of chemotherapy in adjuvant and metastatic settings, its use continues to be suboptimal because of intrinsic or acquired drug resistance. 5-Fluorouracil continues to be the mainstay of CRC therapy, and combinations with newer chemotherapeutic agents such as irinotecan and oxaliplatin have resulted in improved response rates and survival. The role of other agents including cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, epidermal growth factor receptor, and farnsyl transferase inhibitors remains to be elucidated. Despite these improvements, many patients undergo chemotherapy without benefit. Increased understanding of the biology of CRC has led to the identification of prognostic markers that may help identify patients who will benefit from chemotherapy. Furthermore, studies have also begun to identify markers that predict whether a tumor will respond to a particular chemotherapy. The ultimate goal of this research is to prospectively identify patients who should receive chemotherapy and, thus, to tailor treatment to the molecular profile of the tumor and patient. Such an approach has the potential to dramatically improve response rates. This review highlights potentially important prognostic and predictive factors in CRC and discusses the potential for their use in the treatment of this disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-30
Number of pages8
JournalClinical colorectal cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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