Metastasis organotropism in colorectal cancer: advancing toward innovative therapies

J Transl Med. 2023 Sep 9;21(1):612. doi: 10.1186/s12967-023-04460-5.


Distant metastasis remains a leading cause of mortality among patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). Organotropism, referring to the propensity of metastasis to target specific organs, is a well-documented phenomenon in CRC, with the liver, lungs, and peritoneum being preferred sites. Prior to establishing premetastatic niches within host organs, CRC cells secrete substances that promote metastatic organotropism. Given the pivotal role of organotropism in CRC metastasis, a comprehensive understanding of its molecular underpinnings is crucial for biomarker-based diagnosis, innovative treatment development, and ultimately, improved patient outcomes. In this review, we focus on metabolic reprogramming, tumor-derived exosomes, the immune system, and cancer cell-organ interactions to outline the molecular mechanisms of CRC organotropic metastasis. Furthermore, we consider the prospect of targeting metastatic organotropism for CRC therapy.

Keywords: CRC; Cancer cell-organ interactions; Immune system; Metabolic reprogramming; Organotropism; Targeted therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Communication
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Exosomes*
  • Humans
  • Liver
  • Therapies, Investigational