Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a common malignancy and it contributes significantly to cancer mortality. Outcomes in colorectal cancer vary between patients and this is due to the complexity of colorectal carcinogenesis. Interactions between tumor cells and their microenvironment, genetic alterations, and changes in intracellular signalling networks are just some of the abnormal pathways involved in colorectal cancer development. Recent research has targeted components of all of these systems in order to develop biomarkers to aid in the early diagnosis of CRC and to assist in prognostic stratification. Proteomic analysis of tissue or blood-derived samples from CRC patients has proven to be a valuable technique for the identification of potentially informative biomarkers. Such biomarkers may prove to be clinically applicable and could offer greater patient acceptability when compared to conventional methods such as fecal-based testing. In this article we review the recent advances in the development of protein biomarkers of CRC with an emphasis on biomarkers available in the patient's serum and from tissue-based samples. Future challenges in terms of the development of accurate diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive biomarkers of CRC and the importance of validation and patient acceptability are also discussed.
- colorectal cancer