Published online Nov 15, 2016. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v8.i11.772
Peer-review started: April 1, 2016
First decision: June 11, 2016
Revised: August 3, 2016
Accepted: August 30, 2016
Article in press: August 31, 2016
Published online: November 15, 2016
Gastrointestinal malignancies are among the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Like all human malignancies they are characterized by accumulation of mutations which lead to inactivation of tumor suppressor genes or activation of oncogenes. Advances in Molecular Biology techniques have allowed for more accurate analysis of tumors’ genetic profiling using new breakthrough technologies such as next generation sequencing (NGS), leading to the development of targeted therapeutical approaches based upon biomarker-selection. During the last 10 years tremendous advances in the development of targeted therapies for patients with advanced cancer have been made, thus various targeted agents, associated with predictive biomarkers, have been developed or are in development for the treatment of patients with gastrointestinal cancer patients. This review summarizes the advances in the field of molecular biomarkers in tumors of the gastrointestinal tract, with focus on the available NGS platforms that enable comprehensive tumor molecular profile analysis.
Core tip: Gastrointestinal cancers are among the leading causes of cancer morbidity and mortality worldwide. So far, various targeted agents associated with predictive biomarkers are available or are under development for the selection of treatment in patients with gastrointestinal cancer. Advances in high-throughput technologies such as next generation sequencing and the use of noninvasive materials for tumor characterization, such as liquid biopsies, will facilitate tumor molecular profiling and lead to the establishment of further targeted treatment therapies.