Targeted approach to metastatic colorectal cancer: What comes beyond epidermal growth factor receptor antibodies and bevacizumab?

Teresa Troiani, Erika Martinelli, Floriana Morgillo, Anna Capasso, Anna Nappi, Vincenzo Sforza, Fortunato Ciardiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prognosis of patients with cancer remains poor in spite of the advances obtained in recent years with new therapeutic agents, new approaches in surgical procedures and new diagnostic methods. The discovery of a plethora of cellular targets and the rational generation of selective targeting agents has opened an era of new opportunities and extraordinary challenges. The specificity of these agents renders them capable of specifically targeting the inherent abnormalities of cancer cells, potentially resulting in less toxicity than traditional nonselective cytotoxics. Among the many new types of rationally designed agents are therapeutics targeting various strategic facets of growth signal transduction, malignant angiogenesis, survival, metastasis and cell-cycle regulation. The evaluation of these agents is likely to require some changes from the traditional drug development paradigms to realize their full potential. Inhibition of the epidermal growth factor receptor and the vascular endothelial growth factor have provided proof of principle that disruption of signal cascades in patients with colorectal cancer has therapeutic potential. This experience has also taught us that resistance to such rationally developed targeted therapeutic strategies is common. In this article, we review the role of signal transduction in colorectal cancer, introduce promising molecular targets, and outline therapeutic approaches under development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-72
Number of pages22
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • Aurora kinase inhibitors
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Insulin-like growth factor receptor inhibitors
  • MET inhibitors
  • New therapies
  • Src kinase inhibitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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