Intratumor heterogeneity: A new perspective on colorectal cancer research

Colorectal Cancer

Cancer Med. 2020 Aug 27. doi: 10.1002/cam4.3323. Online ahead of print.


Colorectal cancers generally consist of multiple subclones. These subclones have their own unique characteristics, resulting in intratumor heterogeneity (ITH). As the discussion of ITH has advanced, a model describing the relationship of ITH to the tumor has gradually emerged. ITH can be divided into two types of intraprimary tumor heterogeneity and intraindividual tumor heterogeneity, the former for further understanding of tumor composition, and the latter for providing more information about

evolutionary patterns. With the rapid development of new methods, such as next-generation, polyguanine region sequencing, and Image detection, researchers may unravel the secrets underlying ITH. The higher the ITH of the tumor, the richer the interaction between the subclones maybe, or the greater the chance of the tumor getting more powerful subclones may be, thus increasing the malignant potential of the tumor. Existing evidence suggests that ITH may increase the ability of tumors to resist treatment and can be used as an independent influence on the prognosis of colorectal cancer. We reviewed 80 recent studies to give researchers a new perspective on colorectal cancer. There is still a limited amount of research in this area. Further study of the relationship between ITH and clinical endpoints may lead to the development of new treatment strategies.