Molecular basis of colorectal cancer: Towards individualized management?
Colorectal cancer (CRC) has become a highly relevant condition nowadays. In this respect, advances in the understanding of its molecular basis are key for an adequate management. From the time when the adenoma-carcinoma sequence was formulated as a carcinogenesis model to this day, when -among other things- three major carcinogenic pathways have been identified, the CRC concept has evolved from that of a single disease to the notion that each CRC is a differentiated condition in itself. The suppressor or chromosome instability pathway, the mutator or microsatellite instability pathway, and the methylator or CpG island methylation pathway allow various phenotypes to be identified within CRC. Similarly, the presence of different changes in certain genes confers several behaviors on CRC from both the prognostic and responsive standpoints to specific therapies. However, this apparent complexity does help develop the clinical management of this disease through the identification of novel, more specific therapy targets, and also markers for various behaviors within the condition, which will most likely lead us to an individualized management for these patients.