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Personalized Medicine is Advancing

Personalized medicine aims to individualize medical treatment plans. Steps can be taken to identify patients that may be more likely to benefit, or may be at greater risk of adverse effects, from one particular treatment plan versus another.Medical treatment plans for metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) may include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and/or targeted therapy. Chemotherapy and/or targeted therapy are the most common treatments for mCRC.Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that works by killing rapidly dividing cells as found in cancer.A “targeted therapy” is a type of cancer treatment that works by targeting a cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or tissue environment. It may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy.

Biomarker Testing Is an Important Tool Used to Individualize Your Treatment Plan

Biomarkers, short for biological markers, are biological molecules found in blood, other body fluids or tissues that may be measured to provide information about your tumor.Once biomarker testing is done, results of a biomarker test may:

  • Indicate normal or abnormal cell function
  • Provide insight on the likely outcome from the cancer if it is left untreated (i.e. prognosis)
  • Predict the likelihood of the cancer’s response to a specific treatment plan or lack of response to a treatment plan
  • Help you and your doctor make decisions about care
  • Knowing your biomarker status can help you and your doctor decide on which treatment plan may be effective for you and avoid treatments that may not work for you.

Some commonly tested biomarkers RAS* (KRAS, NRAS), BRAF and PIK3CA may be important in colorectal cancer.Biomarker testing provides knowledge about the genetic profile of your tumor to enable you and your doctor to decide on an appropriate patient care plan.

Knowing your biomarker status

Knowing Your Biomarker Status May Help You and Your Doctor Make Important Health Care Decisions

Each patient’s genetic makeup of his/her tumor is unique. Knowing your biomarker status — the genetic structure of your tumor — may help you and your doctor select an appropriate treatment plan.

When you’re diagnosed with mCRC, you and your doctor want to get as much information as you can to make appropriate health care decisions. It’s important to know your tumor biomarker status early in the diagnosis. When you understand your disease and how it affects your body, you can team up with your doctor to manage your treatment plan.

As a patient with metastatic colorectal cancer, you and your caregivers are encouraged to keep an open dialogue with your doctors to stay current on genetic testing and what this means for your treatment plan.

Speak with your doctor

Speak with your doctor about your biomarker status

  1. Talk to your doctor about biomarker testing soon after your diagnosis of mCRC so that you can make an informed decision regarding treatment plans.
  2. Ask your doctor whether your tumor has been tested for biomarkers:
    • If YES: What is your biomarker status for each of these biomarkers?
    • If NO: Will your tumor be tested and when?
  3. Ask your doctor how your biomarker status will affect your care plan.


  1. Personalized medicine is advancing.
  2. For patients with mCRC, biomarker testing is an important tool used to individualize your treatment plan.
  3. Several biomarkers identified as RAS (KRAS, NRAS), BRAF and PIK3CA may be important in mCRC.
  4. Knowing your biomarker status may help you and your doctor make important health care decisions.
  5. Speak with your doctor about your biomarker status.

Copyright Information

On Your Mark. Get Tested. Know Your Biomarker! ™ is a partnership between Amgen and three nonprofit organizations dedicated to colorectal cancer prevention, education and support.

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