A review of targeted therapy and immune checkpoint inhibitors for metastatic colorectal cancer

Surg Oncol. 2023 Dec:51:101993. doi: 10.1016/j.suronc.2023.101993. Epub 2023 Sep 20.


Surgical resection is the cornerstone of treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) and offers the best chance at long-term survival. Unfortunately, most patients do not present with resectable metastatic disease and, among patients who do undergo curative-intent resection, many will develop recurrence. In turn, patients require a multi-disciplinary treatment approach with a combination of chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and/or liver directed therapies that is guided by patient disease burden and clinical status. The development of targeted therapies has led to varying success in other cancers and has emerged as a treatment option for patients with metastatic CRC. While cytotoxic chemotherapy aims to kill cells as they replicate, targeted therapies are directed at biologic features of cancers, like angiogenesis or immune checkpoints. Targeted therapy can facilitate a more treatment tailored approach to the unique genomic alterations of the tumor and hopefully deliver more personalized therapy. We herein provide a systematic review of approved targeted therapies and immune checkpoint inhibitors for metastatic CRC and provide an overview of the current literature.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer; EGFR; Immunotherapy; Metastases; Targeted therapy; VEGF.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colonic Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Immunotherapy
  • Rectal Neoplasms* / drug therapy


  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors