ISSN 1214-0287 (on-line), ISSN 1214-021X (printed)
J Appl Biomed
Volume 11 (2013), No 3, p 115-129
DOI 10.2478/v10136-012-0035-6

Assessing colorectal cancer heterogeneity: one step closer to tailored medicine

Pavel Pitule, Miroslava Cedikova, Vladislav Treska, Milena Kralickova, Vaclav Liska

Address: Pavel Pitule, Department of Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, Karlovarska 48, 301 00 Plzen, Czech Republic
pitulep@seznam.cz

Received 2nd January 2013.
Revised 28th January 2013.
Published online 1st February 2013.

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SUMMARY
Many advances in understanding colorectal cancer heterogeneity and its impact on the variability of treatment efficacy have been achieved in recent years. New methods have also been introduced in colorectal cancer diagnosis and early detection, including molecular biology techniques as well as newly developed or improved imaging techniques. We are currently aware of some aspects of colorectal cancer heterogeneity, such as alterations in the epidermal growth factor receptor signalling or the different behaviours of tumours belonging to different genetic and epigenetic subtypes. In the future, greater attention should also be focused on other signalling circuits with the goal to treat patients individually, based on the characteristics of their tumours. This so-called personalised medicine will bring more benefits to patients, without unnecessary adverse side effects. Therefore, all new information regarding colorectal cancer biology brings us one step closer to accomplishing this goal.

KEY WORDS
colorectal cancer; chromosomal instability; microsatellite instability; CpG island methylator phenotype; EGFR pathway; circulating tumour cells; stool DNA

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