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Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a genetically heterogeneous disease with its pathogenesis often driven by varying genetic or epigenetic alterations. This has led to a substantial number of chemoresistance and treatment failure, resulting in a high mortality rate in advanced CRC. Deep molecular analysis allowed for the discovery of key intestinal signalling pathways which impacts colonic epithelial cell fate, and the integral role of the tumour microenvironment on cancer growth and dissemination. Through transitioning pre-clinical knowledge in research into clinical practice, many potential druggable targets within these pathways have been discovered in the hopes of overcoming the roadblocks encountered in conventional therapies. A personalised approach tailoring treatment according to the histopathological and molecular features of individual tumours can hopefully translate to better patient outcome, and reduced rate of recurrence in patients with advanced CRC. Herein, the latest understanding on the molecular science behind CRC tumourigenesis, and the potential treatment targets currently in the forefront of research in this vibrant field are summarised.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology

Publication Date



Institute of Digestive Disease, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.