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Epigenomics. 2012 Apr;4(2):179-94. doi: 10.2217/epi.12.9.

Promoter CpG island methylation markers in colorectal cancer: the road ahead.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, GROW-School for Oncology & Developmental Biology, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Despite increasing knowledge on the biology, detection and treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC), the disease is still a major health problem. Hypermethylation of promoter regions of genes has been studied extensively as a contributor in CRC carcinogenesis. In addition, it is the topic of many studies focusing on biomarkers for the early detection, prediction of prognosis and treatment outcome. Methylation markers may be preferred over current screening and test methods as they are stable and easy to detect. However, almost no methylation marker is currently being used in clinical practice, often due to a lack of sensitivity, specificity, or validation of the results. This review summarizes the current knowledge of hypermethylation biomarkers for CRC detection, progression and treatment outcome.

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