Early stage colon cancer: Current treatment standards, evolving paradigms, and future directions

Sakti Chakrabarti, Carrie Y. Peterson, Deepika Sriram, Amit Mahipal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Colon cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity throughout the world despite the availability of reliable screening tools and effective therapies. The majority of patients with colon cancer are diagnosed at an early stage (stages I to III), which provides an opportunity for cure. The current treatment paradigm of early stage colon cancer consists of surgery followed by adjuvant chemotherapy in a select group of patients, which is directed at the eradication of minimal residual disease to achieve a cure. Surgery alone is curative for the vast majority of colon cancer patients. Currently, surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy can achieve long term survival in about two-thirds of colon cancer patients with nodal involvement. Adjuvant chemotherapy is recommended for all patients with stage III colon cancer, while the benefit in stage II patients is not unequivocally established despite several large clinical trials. Contemporary research in early stage colon cancer is focused on minimally invasive surgical techniques, strategies to limit treatment-related toxicities, precise patient selection for adjuvant therapy, utilization of molecular and clinicopathologic information to personalize therapy and exploration of new therapies exploiting the evolving knowledge of tumor biology. In this review, we will discuss the current standard treatment, evolving treatment paradigms, and the emerging biomarkers, that will likely help improve patient selection and personalization of therapy leading to superior outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)808-832
Number of pages25
JournalWorld Journal of Gastrointestinal Oncology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 15 2020


  • Adjuvant
  • Circulating tumor DNA
  • Immunoscore
  • International duration evaluation of adjuvant chemotherapy
  • Minimal residual disease
  • Minimally invasive
  • Neoadjuvant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Gastroenterology


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