Metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) is a metastasized cancer, which means, it has spread to regional or distant sites like other organs or the lymph nodes. The National Cancer Institute, US, suggests that although colorectal cancer usually spreads to any other part of the body, it too often spreads to and affects the liver, lung, or peritoneum.

According to leading oncologists, metastatic colorectal cancer treatment becomes nearly impossible when it reaches distant sites. However, continuous developments and improvements in the therapy options for colorectal cancer has made the condition manageable.

Cytotoxic chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapies may be used alone or in combination to reduce tumors, relieve symptoms, and prolong the chances of survival. In recent years, there have been a number of targeted therapies approved for metastatic colorectal cancer treatment.

Once cancer spreads, it can get too difficult to control. But with the various mCRC treatments available, there are many novel ways to help stop or steadily slow down the growth of colorectal cancer and subsequently manage its symptoms.

Colorectal cancer treatment usually depends on various factors such as the extent of the spread and the size and location of the tumors. Patient age, medical history, and potential medicinal side effects are also a few important factors influencing mCRC therapy.

The colorectal cancer is slowly graduating from gross histopathology and leading oncologists are gaining more insights to devise the metastatic colorectal cancer treatment depending upon the various biomarkers.

At present, researches is being conducted to investigate the prognostic markers or the molecular definitions, and the molecular plus patients. Accordingly, treatments are being tailored as per the patients’ histopathology and their molecular signatures so as to improve patients’ quality of life and revoke reasonable survival.

That’s how new avenues of research and explorations are revealed and these factors definitely influence the treatment outcomes to map out the optimum treatment sequence in patients of metastatic colorectal cancer.

For optimum colorectal cancer treatment in the sequencing of patients for the first line of treatment choice, a few factors are to be considered including treatment duration, time of disease progression, patient profile, and comorbid status. Subsequently, the patient is put in the second-line treatment choice to check the existence of certain biological markers.

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Prof. Dan Aderka, M.D., Gastrointestinal Cancer Service, Gastrointestinal Cancer Department