Although the overall incidence of colorectal cancer is slowly decreasing in some populations older than 50 years, the young-onset incidence is increasing. Each patient with colorectal cancer exhibits unique disease characteristics that are driven by discrete genetic/epigenetic aberrations requiring effective identification prior to treatment. Improvements in sequencing technology have helped establish molecular subsets of disease that serve as predictors of prognosis and selection of the appropriate targeted therapy. Advances in the targeted therapy of colorectal cancer in recent years along with molecular subset identification have significantly improved the therapeutic outcomes. Surface receptors that can be targeted using humanized antibodies continue to emerge, and small molecules to target their downstream signaling cascades are being developed. Molecules that target more than one pathway within complex signaling networks have been shown to have significant effects on advanced metastatic disease. The overall prognosis of patients with colorectal cancer continues to improve.
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