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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 149014, 14 pages
Review Article

Colorectal Cancer Biomarkers: Where Are We Now?

1Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology and Genetics, University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Juan, PR 00927-6346, USA
2UPR-MDACC Partnership for Excellence in Cancer Research Program, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, PR 00936-5067, USA
3Department of Medicine, Biochemistry, and Surgery, University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, San Juan, PR 00936-5067, USA

Received 8 September 2014; Accepted 19 February 2015

Academic Editor: Mario Scartozzi

Copyright © 2015 Maria Gonzalez-Pons and Marcia Cruz-Correa. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Colorectal cancer is one of the major causes of cancer-related death in the Western world. Patient survival is highly dependent on the tumor stage at the time of diagnosis. Reduced sensitivity to chemotherapy is still a major obstacle in effective treatment of advanced disease. Due to the fact that colorectal cancer is mostly asymptomatic until it progresses to advanced stages, the implementation of screening programs aimed at early detection is essential to reduce incidence and mortality rates. Current screening and diagnostic methods range from semi-invasive procedures such as colonoscopy to noninvasive stool-based tests. The combination of the absence of symptoms, the semi-invasive nature of currently used methods, and the suboptimal accuracy of fecal blood tests results in colorectal cancer diagnosis at advanced stages in a significant number of individuals. Alterations in gene expression leading to colorectal carcinogenesis are reflected in dysregulated levels of nucleic acids and proteins, which can be used for the development of novel, minimally invasive molecular biomarkers. The purpose of this review is to discuss the commercially available colorectal cancer molecular diagnostic methods as well as to highlight some of the new candidate predictive and prognostic molecular markers for tumor, stool, and blood samples.