03 July 2015
colorectal cancer, genetic heterogeneity, molecular signaling pathways, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, hereditary colorectal cancers, early diagnosis, personalised care, minimally invasive surgery, conventional laparoscopic surgery, robotic surgery
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common type of cancer worldwide and a leading cause of cancer death. Surgery represents the mainstay of treatment in early cases but often patients are primarily diagnosed in an advanced stage of disease and sometimes also distant metastases are present. Neoadjuvant therapy is therefore needed but drug resistance may influence response and concur to recurrent disease. At molecular level, it is a very heterogeneous group of diseases with about 30% of hereditary or familial cases. During colorectal adenocarcinomas development, epithelial cells from gastrointestinal trait acquire sequential genetic and epigenetic mutations in specific oncogenes and/or tumour suppressor genes, causing CRC onset, progression and metastasis. Molecular characterization of cancer associated mutations gives valuable information about disease prognosis and response to the therapy. Very early diagnosis and personalized care, as well as a better knowledge of molecular basis of its onset and progression, are therefore crucial to obtain a cure of CRC. In this review, we describe updated genetics, current diagnosis and management of CRC pointing out the extreme need for a multidisciplinary approach to achieve the best results in patient outcomes.