Colorectal Cancer (Carcinoma) Markers




Colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer or bowel cancer, includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix. It is the third most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of death among cancers in the Western world. Many colorectal cancers are thought to arise from adenomatous polyps in the colon. These mushroom-like growths are usually benign, but some may develop into cancer over time. The majority of the time, the diagnosis of localized colon cancer is through colonoscopy. Therapy is usually through surgery, which in many cases is followed by chemotherapy.




AFU (alpha-L-fucosidase)

  • serum AFU activity appears to be a good prognostic factor of tumour recurrence in colorectal carcinoma. PMID: 12457030


  • a marker of dysplasia in the colonic adenoma-carcinoma sequence. PMID: 1350509

Annexin II and Tenascin-C

  • are overexpressed in advanced colorectal carcinoma and that they may be related to the progression and metastatic spread of colorectal carcinoma. PMID: 11745218


  • demonstrate higher clinical value in the early diagnosis of colorectal liver metastases than CEA and Ca 19-9. PMID: 15074017


beta Catenin

  • Nuclear beta catenin expression is a potential prognostic factor in patients with colorectal cancer, and together with CK20, it could be used to identify colorectal carcinoma in the Hong Kong population. PMID: 14645698


  • a clinically useful tool for monitoring of patients with colorectal cancer. PMID: 2451612

CA 125

  • a clinically useful tumor marker in the management of colorectal carcinoma metastatic to the liver in patients with normal carcinoembryonic antigen. PMID: 10776987


  • can be applied as complementary tumor marker in colorectal cancer. PMID: 2634457

CA 242

  • possible utility of CA 242 in monitoring the disease status, providing a rationale for future studies focusing on the longitudinal monitoring of colorectal cancer patients. PMID: 10365107

Caspase 7


  • represents a highly promising marker for early detection of colorectal cancer in hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) germ line mutation carriers. PMID: 16166278

CCSP-2 (Colon cancer secreted protein-2)

  • a novel candidate for development as a diagnostic serum marker of early stage colon cancer. PMID: 15580307


  • a novel independent prognostic marker of colorectal carcinoma and that it may be clinically useful for selecting patients who could benefit from adjuvant therapy. PMID: 10850455


  • a reliable marker of colorectal adenocarcinoma metastases to the lungs. PMID: 12548159

CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen)

  • The measurement of CEA levels might be useful in monitoring chemotherapeutic response and in predicting the prognosis of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. PMID: 11995458

  • Intraoperative determination of carcinoembryonic antigen levels in peritoneal washes could be a potentially predictive factor of a poor prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer. PMID: 12845971

  • CEA concentration in colonic effluent is a simple and practical biomarker for identification of patients at high risk for colorectal carcinoma (CRC). PMID: 10975292


  • a marker for colonic carcinoma and precancerous conditions. PMID: 7748075

CR-1 (CCripto-1)

  • plasma CR-1 might represent a novel biomarker for the detection of breast and colon carcinomas. PMID: 16951234


  • expression in the primary lesion may be a useful marker for evaluating prognosis and liver metastasis in patients with colorectal cancer. PMID: 11786771

DD (plasma D-dimer)

  • measurement of the preoperative DD level is thus considered to be useful for the preoperative staging of colorectal cancer. PMID: 9590700


  • Urinary DHN-MA is a useful noninvasive biomarker for determining the risk of preneoplastic lesions associated with heme iron consumption and should be further investigated as a potential biomarker of colon cancer risk. PMID: 17119057

DiAcSpm (di-acetyl spermine)

  • urine DiAcSpm predicted the prognosis after colorectal cancer surgery more exactly than serum CEA. PMID: 15164601

Dipeptidase 1

  • a candidate tumor-specific molecular marker in colorectal carcinoma. /span> PMID: 15145522

DPD (Dihydropyrimidine Dehydrogenase)

  • a useful marker for use with adjuvant chemotherapy with oral fluoropyrimidines after curative resection of colorectal cancer. PMID: 15309506

  • tumor DPD level is an efficacious marker in oral 5-FU based-adjuvant chemotherapy for colorectal cancer; however, low tumor DPD predicts reduced survival in patients treated with curative surgery alone. PMID: 14744539


  • would be important predictive markers for lymph node metastasis in submucosal invasive colorectal carcinoma. PMID: 15785891


  • The elevation of E-selectin alone or both E-selectin and sialyl Lewis A may be one of the useful indexes for more precise diagnosis of hematogenous metastases of human colorectal cancer. PMID: 11777210


GCC (Guanylyl cyclase C)

  • reverse transcriptase PCR is a sensitive and specific technique for identifying tumor cells in extraintestinal sites and may be useful for staging and postoperative surveillance of patients with colorectal cancer. PMID: 16149873

GLUT1 glucose transporter

  • associated strongly with neoplastic progression in the colon, and assessment of the extent of GLUT1 immunostaining in colorectal carcinoma identifies patients with a poorer prognosis. PMID: 9655290


  • a possible new marker for immunohistochemical detection of human colonic carcinoma and some adenomas. PMID: 3084412

HECA (homologue of the Drosophila headcase protein)

  • may be an early-stage classifier of colorectal cancer that can discriminate between late- and early-stage disease. PMID: 16525680

KKeratin 20

  • a specific marker of submicroscopic lymph node metastases in colorectal cancer: PMID: 10767714


  • Ki-67 labeling index in the mucosa adjacent to cancer might be a good marker for metastasis in colorectal cancer. PMID: 11876549


  • a new target gene for nt/beta-catenin-TCF signaling, is associated with tumor progression and poor survival in patients with colorectal cancer and may be clinically useful as a marker for poor prognosis. PPMID: 17211730


  • a new marker for inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders and colon cancer. PMID: 8001286


  • early marker in the carcinogenesis of ulcerative colitis-associated colorectal carcinoma. PMID: 12053227


  • a prognostic marker for hematogenous metastasis of colorectal cancer. PMID: 10794801


  • activities of active MMP-2 and proMMP-9 in the bile may be useful markers for predicting liver metastasis in colorectal cancer. PMID: 11594775

MnSOD (Manganese superoxide dismutase)

  • immunohistochemical expression of MnSOD can give auxiliary clinical information for malignant potential of colorectal carcinoma. PMID: 12469142


  • mature MUC1 mucins become ectopically expressed in colorectal carcinoma progressed to the metastatic stages and that mature MUC1 mucins may be a useful marker for advanced colorectal carcinoma. PMID: 7905449


  • a useful prognostic factor of poor outcomes in colorectal cancer. PMID: 15014029

NCC-ST 439o:p>

  • the determination of serum NCC-ST 439 in large bowel cancer might be useful in cancer staging and that NCC-ST 439, if used in combination with CEA, is particularly useful in diagnosing recurrences because of its improved diagnostic accuracy. PMID: 1914727

  • serum NCC-ST-439 value was clinically useful for the diagnosis and monitoring for patients with colorectal cancers as a new distinct tumor marker. PMID: 2782914, PMID: 2549882

NNMT (nicotinamide N-methyltransferase)

  • serum levels may have significance in the early detection and in the management of patients with colorectal cancer. PMID: 16166432


  • identified as colon cancer tumor progression marker. PMID: 14744111

  • a lead marker of colon cancer progression, using pooled sample expression profiling. PMID: 11929952


  • detection of serum p53 antibody is expected to serve as a new genetic marker, determined by serological analyses, for aiding in the early diagnosis of superficial colorectal cancer and indicating its local curability after endoscopic treatment. PMID: 11706527

PAI-1 (plasminogen activator inhibitor-1)

  • might serve as a new parameter for the prediction of prognoses in colorectal cancer (CRC). PMID: 16091756


  • expression is related to tumor progression and may be useful as a marker for invasive colorectal cancer. PMID: 11801558

PKC (Protein kinase C)

  • a biological marker of risk of developing colorectal cancer or risk of bearing an asymptomatic tumor. PMID: 1860726


  • Quantitatively determined pKi-67 mRNA can be a good and new prognostic indicator for primary resected colorectal carcinoma. PMID: 15449182


  • a transforming growth factor-beta-induced marker of terminal colonocyte differentiation whose expression is maintained in primary and metastatic colon cancer. PMID: 12670906


  • accumulation of p53 protein might have a favorable prognostic value in colorectal cancer, but it is not an independent prognostic factor. PMID: 17021749


  • expected to be a promising biomarker for identifying colorectal cancer patients at high risk for distant metastases. PMID: 15534108


  • a possible diagnostic marker of colorectal carcinoma in ulcerative colitis. PMID: 10671663


  • a novel serum tumor marker for colorectal cancer (CRC) that may have significance in the detection and in the management of patients with this disease. PMID: 16893879


  • expression is associated with adverse clinical outcome. Inclusion of S100A4 expression status may enhance our accuracy to prognosticate in patients with colorectal cancer. PMID: 16615153


  • may be a molecular determinant in the development and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC). PMID: 16861967


  • amplification of SKI is a negative prognostic marker in early-stage colorectal cancer. PMID: 15153332


  • a prognostic marker in colorectal cancer. PMID: 15814640

  • a predictive marker for 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy in patients with colorectal cancer. PMID: 12237773



  • expression of p-STAT3 is an important factor related to tumour invasion and poor prognosis of human colorectal adenocarcinoma. PMID: 16685378


  • a strong predictive marker of adjuvant chemotherapy benefit in colorectal cancer. PMID: 15720808

Sucrase-isomaltase (SI)

  • an independent prognostic marker for colorectal carcinoma. PMID: 7497836



  • a novel tumor marker for colorectal cancer patients. /span> PMID: 1892526

TTCR gamma (T-cell receptor gamma)


  • useful both as a diagnostic as well as a predictive factor in colorectal cancer. PMID: 15190417


  • a marker that identifies tumour associated micro-vessels in colon cancer. The levels of expression of TEM-8 in invasive colon cancer are linked to disease progression. This suggests that TEM-8 has significant prognostic and therapeutic values in colon cancer. PMID: 15498639

Tetranectin (TN)

  • may be valuable as a prognostic variable in future studies evaluating new treatment strategies for colorectal cancer. PMID: 12529016


  • active TGF-beta1 might be used as a tumor marker for colorectal cancer. PMID: 11802214

Thymidine Kinase 1 (TK1)

  • TK1-LI showed more potential as a proliferating marker in colorectal carcinoma than PCNA-LI, especially for evaluating high-risk tumor grade and advanced stage in colorectal carcinoma. PMID: 11205225

VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor)


  • VEGF-D expression, but not that of its receptor VEGFR-3, is an independent prognostic indicator in colorectal carcinomas (CRC). PMID: 11912138

Vitamin D receptor

  • the level of vitamin D receptor correlates with the degree of differentiation in human colon cancer cell lines and may serve as a useful biological marker in predicting clinical outcome in patients. PMID: 8393379

Other Colorectal Cancer Markers

  • detection of circulating tumor cells erioperatively by immunobead-PCR provides a sensitive prognostic marker for recurrent and metastatic colorectal cancer. PMID: 8612201

  • Methylation of serum DNA is an independent prognostic marker in colorectal cancer. PMID: 17189406

  • A combination of serum hepatocyte growth factor and carcinoembryonic antigen tests might be useful for selecting patients with aggressive diseases in Dukes A and B colorectal cancer classification. PMID: 16990975

  • this innovative membrane array technique with a multiple mRNA marker panel can significantly improve the diagnosis rate of early colorectal cancer. PMID: 16391796

  • a mini-array of multiple TAAs which includes Calnuc might provide a novel non-invasive approach to enhance antibody detection for colon cancer diagnosis. PMID: 17390015

  • an increment of soluble FAS/soluble FASL ratio after treatment could be an excellent marker of chemosensitivity in colorectal cancer. PMID: 16000573

  • fecal sphingomyelinase activity could really reflect the human intestinal mucosa enzyme level and could represent a new marker for human colorectal adenocarcinoma, mainly taking into account its early appearance in intestinal neoplasms. PMID: 15824156

  • 6 months postoperatively serum CEA is a better prognostic marker than corresponding serum and plasma VEGF. However, high serum VEGF within high serum CEA was an even better predictor of overall survival than high serum CEA alone. PMID: 14968945

  • An assay of fecal DNA integrity may be a useful biomarker for the detection of colorectal cancer (CRC). PMID: 12816901

  • Lipid peroxidation as additional marker in patients with colorectal cancer. Results of a preliminary study. PMID: 12364818

  • Hyaluronic acid (HA) may provide additional information to that given by other biochemical markers currently used in colorectal cancer. PPMID: 11122186

  • the evaluation of circulating testosterone could be a new and more sensitive assay for diagnosis and follow-up of colorectal carcinoma in males, specially in patients with normal levels of carcinoembryonic antigen. PMID: 8295527

  • Tumor Budding is a reliable biological prognostic variable to identify higher malignancy potential. Scoring system using tumor budding and N stage showed better prognostic stratification in stage-III rectal carcinoma. PMID: 17216219

  • Budding is a pathological marker suggesting high malignant potential and decreased postoperative survival in patients with colorectal mucinous carcinoma. PMID: 12451038

  • mandibular osteomas are probably genetic markers of the development of sporadic colorectal carcinoma. PMID: 8381556