COVID-19 and Colorectal Cancer Get The Facts

World Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Day

Today, Wednesday September 30th, is World Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Day – a day dedicated to raising awareness of the most advanced form of colorectal cancer, known as metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC); this is when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver or lungs.

#BowelCancerAustralia, #ColonCancerAlliance, #ColorectalCancerCanada, #BowelCancerUK, and #FightCRC have come together today to raise awareness on biomarkers as predictive indicators of disease and response to targeted therapies such as immunotherapy.

Colorectal cancer is expected to be the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada, such that 26,900 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2020.

There have been considerable advances in the treatment of mCRC over the past 15 years, yet the prognosis of patients with mCRC still remains poor. For this reason, more effective therapeutic strategies are necessary for metastatic disease. The inclusion of biomarkers into therapy selection for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer can significantly improve outcomes.

Biomarker testing for metastatic colorectal cancer can personalize therapy for patients to optimize outcomes. For instance, testing for biomarkers such as RAS, MSI-H/dMMR BRAF V600E, and NTRK can guide patient selection for specific immunotherapy drugs.


Immunotherapy has revolutionized cancer therapy, and specifically immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy has rapidly changed the treatment landscape in oncology. These include drugs such as: Cetuximab, Panitumumab, Pembrolizumab, Nivolumab, Ipilimumab, Vemurafenib, and Larotrectinib.

“The development of biomarkers contributes to revealing the therapeutic mechanisms of ICIs and the interaction mechanisms between tumor and host immunity, achieving decision-making of individualized anti-tumor immunotherapy, monitoring efficacy and disease development, guiding clinical trial design, as well as for further understanding of drug resistance mechanisms and tumor prognosis”1

Improvements in the survival of patients with mCRC will be made possible with the identification of new predictive molecular biomarkers and their evaluation through clinical trials.

References: 1. https://biomarkerres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40364-020-00209-0

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