Guanylyl cyclase C as a biomarker for immunotherapies for the treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies

Biomark Med. 2021 Feb;15(3):201-217. doi: 10.2217/bmm-2020-0359. Epub 2021 Jan 20.


Gastrointestinal cancers encompass a diverse class of tumors arising in the GI tract, including esophagus, stomach, pancreas and colorectum. Collectively, gastrointestinal cancers compose a high fraction of all cancer deaths, highlighting an unmet need for novel and effective therapies. In this context, the transmembrane receptor guanylyl cyclase C (GUCY2C) has emerged as an attractive target for the prevention, detection and treatment of many gastrointestinal tumors. GUCY2C is an intestinally-restricted protein implicated in tumorigenesis that is universally expressed by primary and metastatic colorectal tumors as well as ectopically expressed by esophageal, gastric and pancreatic cancers. This review summarizes the current state of GUCY2C-targeted modalities in the management of gastrointestinal malignancies, with special focus on colorectal cancer, the most incident gastrointestinal malignancy.

Keywords: GUCY2C; biomarker; colorectal cancer; gastrointestinal cancer; immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Receptors, Enterotoxin*


  • Biomarkers
  • GUCY2C protein, human
  • Receptors, Enterotoxin