Tumour markers in colorectal cancer: European Group on Tumour Markers (EGTM) guidelines for clinical use

Eur J Cancer. 2007 Jun;43(9):1348-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2007.03.021. Epub 2007 May 18.


The aim of this article is to present updated guidelines for the use of serum, tissue and faecal markers in colorectal cancer (CRC). Lack of specificity and sensitivity preclude the use of all existing serum markers for the early detection of CRC. For patients with stage II or stage III CRC who may be candidates for either liver resection or systemic treatment should recurrence develop, CEA should be measured every 2-3 months for at least 3 years after diagnosis. Insufficient evidence exists to recommend routine use of tissue factors such as thymidylate synthase, microsatellite instability (MSI), p53, K-ras and deleted in colon cancer (DCC) for either determining prognosis or predicting response to therapy in patients with CRC. Microsatellite instability, however, may be used as a pre-screen for patients with suspected hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer. Faecal occult blood testing but not faecal DNA markers may be used to screen asymptomatic subjects 50 years or older for early CRC.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / blood
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Humans
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / diagnosis
  • Occult Blood
  • Thymidylate Synthase / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Thymidylate Synthase