Tumor markers in colorectal cancer, gastric cancer and gastrointestinal stromal cancers: European group on tumor markers 2014 guidelines update

Int J Cancer. 2014 Jun 1;134(11):2513-22. doi: 10.1002/ijc.28384. Epub 2013 Aug 27.


Biomarkers currently play an important role in the detection and management of patients with several different types of gastrointestinal cancer, especially colorectal, gastric, gastro-oesophageal junction (GOJ) adenocarcinomas and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs). The aim of this article is to provide updated and evidence-based guidelines for the use of biomarkers in the different gastrointestinal malignancies. Recommended biomarkers for colorectal cancer include an immunochemical-based fecal occult blood test in screening asymptomatic subjects ≥50 years of age for neoplasia, serial CEA levels in postoperative surveillance of stage II and III patients who may be candidates for surgical resection or systemic therapy in the event of distant metastasis occurring, K-RAS mutation status for identifying patients with advanced disease likely to benefit from anti-EGFR therapeutic antibodies and microsatellite instability testing as a first-line screen for subjects with Lynch syndrome. In advanced gastric or GOJ cancers, measurement of HER2 is recommended in selecting patients for treatment with trastuzumab. For patients with suspected GIST, determination of KIT protein should be used as a diagnostic aid, while KIT mutational analysis may be used for treatment planning in patients with diagnosed GISTs.

Keywords: EGTM; biomarker; colorectal cancer; gastrointestinal cancer; guidelines; tumor markers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Time Factors


  • Biomarkers, Tumor