Published online Sep 21, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i35.7882
Peer-review started: April 21, 2016
First decision: May 27, 2016
Revised: June 30, 2016
Accepted: August 1, 2016
Article in press: August 1, 2016
Published online: September 21, 2016
Patients with extensive ulcerative colitis (UC) of more than eight years duration have an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Molecular biomarkers for dysplasia and cancer could have a great clinical value in managing cancer risk in these UC patients. Using a wide range of molecular techniques - including cutting-edge OMICS technologies - recent studies have identified clinically relevant biomarker candidates from a variety of biosamples, including colonic biopsies, blood, stool, and urine. While the challenge remains to validate these candidate biomarkers in multi-center studies and with larger patient cohorts, it is certain that accurate biomarkers of colitis-associated neoplasia would improve clinical management of neoplastic risk in UC patients. This review highlights the ongoing avenues of research in biomarker development for colitis-associated colorectal cancer.
Core tip: With the incidence of ulcerative colitis on the rise, there is a need to develop clinically useful biomarkers capable of identifying and monitoring the subset of ulcerative colitis (UC) patients at highest risk for developing colon cancer. Recent studies have reported the efforts in developing clinically relevant biomarkers, laying a foundation for further clinical biomarker development. While the challenge remains to validate these candidate biomarkers in multi-center studies using larger patient cohorts, it is certain that accurate biomarkers of colitis-associated neoplasia would improve current clinical management of neoplastic risk in UC patients.