Langenbecks Arch Surg 2015 Feb 10;400(2):129-43. Epub 2015 Feb 10.
Cancer Center Heilbronn-Franken, SLK Kliniken Heilbronn GmbH, Heilbronn, Germany.
Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer diagnosed worldwide and continues to be a major healthcare concern. Molecular heterogeneity of CRC is believed to be one of the main factors responsible for the considerable variability in treatment response. With the recent development of powerful genomic technologies, novel insights in tumor biology of CRC have now been provided, facilitating the recognition of new molecular subtypes with prognostic and predictive implications.
Purpose: The purpose of this review article is to summarize current knowledge about genomic, epigenomic, and proteomic characteristics of CRC, as well as their implications for biomarker identification and individualized targeted therapy.
Conclusion: Supplementing the findings from several previous studies, the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project recently finalized the systematic characterization of CRC resulting in the first tumor dataset with complete molecular measurements at DNA, RNA, and protein levels. The challenge now is to translate these findings into a robust and reproducible CRC classification system linking molecular features of the tumor to precision medicine.