Despite the large amount of data in cancer biology and many studies into the likely survival of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, knowledge regarding the issue of CRC prognostic biomarkers remains poor. The Tumor-Node-Metastasis (TNM) staging system continues to be the most powerful and reliable predictor of the clinical outcome of CRC patients. The exponential increase of knowledge in the field of molecular genetics has lead to the identification of specific alterations involved in the malignant progression. Many of these genetic alterations were proposed as biomarkers which could be used in clinical practice to estimate CRC prognosis. Recently there has been an explosive increase in the number of putative biomarkers able to predict the response to specific adjuvant treatment. In this review we explore and summarize data concerning prognostic and predictive biomarkers and we attempt to shed light on recent research that could lead to the emergence of new biomarkers in CRC.
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