Staging of colorectal cancer: past, present, and future.
Since the inception of staging for colorectal cancer (CRC), anatomic extent of disease has provided a solid foundation for predicting prognosis and guiding treatment in patients with CRC. However, the rapid advances in biologic and genetic technology have provided many new possibilities for enhancing the predictive power of the staging system. In this article, we will briefly discuss the history of CRC staging, identify the current parameters for American Joint Committee on Cancer staging including recent changes, and offer guidelines for future staging modifications. Although anatomic parameters have served us well for many years, their continued use as sole contributors to CRC staging is questionable. Staging in the future is likely to be a complicated combination of anatomic and biologic markers used together in mathematic modeling to group patients into prognostic risk groups, which can be used to guide tailored therapy.
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