Genetic and epigenetic markers in colorectal cancer screening: recent advances
Singha, Manish Pratap
Singh, Sunil Kumar
Singh, Nand Kumar
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Introduction: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a heterogenous disease which develops from benign intraepithelial lesions known as adenomas to malignant carcinomas. Acquired alterations in Wnt signaling, TGFβ, MAPK pathway genes and clonal propagation of altered cells are responsible for this transformation. Detection of adenomas or early stage cancer in asymptomatic patients and better prognostic and predictive markers is important for improving the clinical management of CRC. Area covered: In this review, the authors have evaluated the potential of genetic and epigenetic alterations as markers for early detection, prognosis and therapeutic predictive potential in the context of CRC. We have discussed molecular heterogeneity present in CRC and its correlation to prognosis and response to therapy. Expert commentary: Molecular marker based CRC screening methods still fail to gain trust of clinicians. Invasive screening methods, molecular heterogeneity, chemoresistance and low quality test samples are some key challenges which need to be addressed in the present context. New sequencing technologies and integrated omics data analysis of individual or population cohort results in GWAS. MPE studies following a GWAS could be future line of research to establish accurate correlations between CRC and its risk factors. This strategy would identify most reliable biomarkers for CRC screening and management.