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Prognostic and Predictive Biomarkers in Colorectal Cancer. From the Preclinical Setting to Clinical Practice

[ Vol. 15 , Issue. 8 ]


Joan Maurel and Antonio Postigo   Pages 703 - 715 ( 13 )


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second largest cause of cancer mortality in Western countries, mostly due to metastasis. Understanding the natural history and prognostic factors in patients with metastatic CRC (mCRC) is essential for the optimal design of clinical trials. The main prognostic factors currently used in clinical practice are related to tumor behavior (e.g., white blood counts, levels of lactate dehydrogenase, levels of alkaline phosphatase) disease extension (e.g., presence of extrahepatic spread, number of organs affected) and general functional status (e.g., performance status as defined by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group). However, these parameters are not always sufficient to establish appropriate therapeutic strategies. First-line therapy in mCRC combines conventional chemotherapy (CHT) (e.g., FOLFOX, FOLFIRI, CAPOX) with a number of agents targeted to specific signaling pathways (TA) (e.g., panitumumab and cetuximab for cases KRAS/NRAS WT, and bevacizumab). Although the response rate to this combination regime exceeds 50%, progression of the disease is almost universal and only less than 10% of patients are free of disease at 2 years. Current clinical trials with second and third line therapy include new TA, such as tyrosin-kinase receptors inhibitors (MET, HER2, IGF-1R), inhibitors of BRAF, MEK, PI3K, AKT, mTORC, NOTCH and JAK1/JAK2, immunotherapy modulators and check point inhibitors (anti-PD-L1 and anti- PD1). Despite the identification of multiple prognostic and predictive biomarkers and signatures, it is still unclear how expression of many of these biomarkers is modulated by CHT and/or TA, thus potentially affecting response to treatment. In this review we analyzed how certain biomarkers in tumor cells and microenvironment influence the response to new TA and immune-therapies strategies in mCRC pre-treated patients.


Biomarkers, colorectal, epithelial, mesenchymal, prognostic, resistance.


Department of Medical Oncology, Hospital ClĂ­nic Barcelona, Villarroel 170, Catalonia, Spain.

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