Colorectal carcinoma: from tumorigenesis to treatment

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2006 Mar;63(6):663-71. doi: 10.1007/s00018-005-5425-4.


Colorectal carcinoma (CRC) is a complicated and often fatal genetic disease. Fortunately, owing to rapid expansion of knowledge and technology development in oncology, much progress has been made regarding the diagnosis, understanding of the molecular genetics and malignant progression, as well as the novel regimens of CRC. In this review, we summarize the staging system, the most critical genetic and epigenetic alterations, the pleiotropic effects of MMP-7, the controversial roles of Hedgehog signaling, the intriguing involvement of thymosin beta-4, and the possible contribution of the putative colon (cancer) stem cells in CRC tumorigenesis. Current treatments as well as several potentially applicable therapeutic strategies for CRC are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma / etiology*
  • Carcinoma / genetics
  • Carcinoma / therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 7 / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Staging*
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Thymosin / metabolism
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Thymosin
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 7