Best practice & research. Clinical gastroenterology. vol:16 issue:2 pages:171-85
Colorectal cancers, whether sporadic or hereditary, are caused by a defined set of molecular events. There are at least two different pathogenetic pathways for colorectal cancer: the chromosomal instability pathway and the microsatellite instability pathway; the two major inherited syndromes, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), are examples of these two mechanisms. These different pathways, however, converge on common pathological entities that have crucial functions in the regulation of normal crypt homeostasis. Preventive strategies aimed at reversing these changes, or therapeutic interventions targeting cell populations with these alterations, should be most efficacious. Genetic testing for inherited syndromes is now available and allows appropriate management of these disorders. Further insight into colorectal tumorigenesis pathways can lead to the development of useful prognostic indicators and target preventive and therapeutic strategies in the management of colorectal cancer.