Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. It has been estimated that more than one-third of patients are diagnosed when CRC has already spread to the lymph nodes. One out of five patients is diagnosed with metastatic CRC. The stage of diagnosis influences treatment outcome and survival. Notwithstanding the recent advances in multidisciplinary management and treatment of CRC, patients are still reluctant to undergo screening tests because of the associated invasiveness and discomfort (e.g., colonoscopy with biopsies). Moreover, the serological markers currently used for diagnosis are not reliable and, even if they were useful to detect disease recurrence after treatment, they are not always detected in patients with CRC (e.g., CEA). Recently, translational research in CRC has produced a wide spectrum of potential biomarkers that could be useful for diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of these patients. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the newer noninvasive or minimally invasive biomarkers of CRC. Here, we discuss imaging and biomolecular diagnostics ranging from their potential usefulness to obtain early and less-invasive diagnosis to their potential implementation in the development of a bespoke treatment of CRC.
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