Rapidly growing insights into the molecular biology of colorectal cancer (CRC) and recent developments in gene sequencing and molecular diagnostics have led to high expectations for the identification of molecular markers to be used in optimized and tailored treatment regimens. However, many of the published data on molecular biomarkers are contradictory in their findings and the current reality is that no molecular marker, other than the KRAS gene in the case of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)- targeted therapy for metastatic disease, has made it into clinical practice. Many markers investigated suffer from technical shortcomings, resulting from lack of quantitative techniques to capture the impact of the molecular alteration. This understanding has recently led to the more comprehensive approaches of global gene expression profiling or genome-wide analysis to determine prognostic and predictive signatures in tumors. In this review, an update of the most recent data on promising biological prognostic and/or predictive markers, including microsatellite instability, epidermal growth factor receptor, KRAS, BRAF, CpG island methylator phenotype, cytotoxic T lymphocytes, forkhead box P3-positive T cells, receptor for hyaluronic acid-mediated motility, phosphatase and tensin homolog, and T-cell originated protein kinase, in patients with CRC is provided.
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