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World J Gastroenterol. 2007 Nov 28;13(44):5832-44.

Is there a genetic signature for liver metastasis in colorectal cancer?

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Servei Oncologia Mèdica, Institut Clínic de Malalties Hemato-Oncològiques, Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, c/Villarroel, 170, Barcelona 08036, Spain.


Even though liver metastasis accounts for the vast majority of cancer deaths in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), fundamental questions about the molecular and cellular mechanisms of liver metastasis still remain unanswered. Determination of gene expression profiles by microarray technology has improved our knowledge of CRC molecular pathways. However, defined gene signatures are highly variable among studies. Expression profiles and molecular markers have been specifically linked to liver metastases mechanistic paths in CRC. However, to date, none of the identified signatures or molecular markers has been successfully validated as a diagnostic or prognostic tool applicable to routine clinical practice. To obtain a genetic signature for liver metastasis in CRC, measures to improve reproducibility, to increase consistency, and to validate results need to be implemented. Alternatives to expression profiling with microarray technology are continuing to be used. In the recent past, many genes codifying for proteins that are directly or indirectly involved in adhesion, invasion, angiogenesis, survival and cell growth have been linked to mechanisms of liver metastases in CRC.

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