Colorectal Cancer Biomarkers and the Potential Role of Cancer Stem Cells

Colorectal Cancer Biomarkers and the Potential Role of Cancer Stem Cells

Over 50% of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) will progress and/or develop metastases. Biomarkers capable of predicting progression, risk stratification and therapeutic benefit are needed. Cancer stem cells are thought to be responsible for tumor initiation, dissemination and treatment failure. Therefore, we hypothesized that CRC stem cell markers (CRCSC) can identify a group of patients whom are at increased risk for recurrence or progression of disease. If proven correct, these CRCSC biomarkers may herald a paradigm shift in the treatment of this deadly disease. This manuscript reviews current CRC evidence based screening modalities, patient stratification, and summarizes the current state of biomarkers and discusses the novel concept of putative CRCSC’s as prognostic biomarkers.