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Colorectal Cancer Biomarkers in the Era of Personalized Medicine

Jai N Patel, Mei Ka Fong, Megan Jagosky
Journal of Personalized Medicine 2019 January 14, 9 (1)
The 5-year survival probability for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer has not drastically changed over the last several years, nor has the backbone chemotherapy in first-line disease. Nevertheless, newer targeted therapies and immunotherapies have been approved primarily in the refractory setting, which appears to benefit a small proportion of patients. Until recently, rat sarcoma ( RAS ) mutations remained the only genomic biomarker to assist with therapy selection in metastatic colorectal cancer. Next generation sequencing has unveiled many more potentially powerful predictive genomic markers of therapy response. Importantly, there are also clinical and physiologic predictive or prognostic biomarkers, such as tumor sidedness. Variations in germline pharmacogenomic biomarkers have demonstrated usefulness in determining response or risk of toxicity, which can be critical in defining dose intensity. This review outlines such biomarkers and summarizes their clinical implications on the treatment of colorectal cancer. It is critical that clinicians understand which biomarkers are clinically validated for use in practice and how to act on such test results.


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