Metastic Disease and Advanced Colorectal Cancer
Cancers of the colon, rectum and anus can spread to other parts of the body, typically to the liver and lungs. Patients in the Colorectal Cancer Program have access to a full range of providers at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center.
Colorectal cancer that has metastasized, or spread, to another area of the body is still considered colorectal cancer. As a result, for example, treatment of liver metastasis—colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver—is treated differently than primary liver cancer (a disease that originated in the liver).
Chemotherapy and Radiation Options to Treat Metastatic Disease
The good news is that there are many more chemotherapy and radiation options to treat metastatic disease than there were even 10 years ago. Patients in the Colorectal Cancer Program can also access the latest investigational chemotherapy options through our active clinical trials program.
In addition to chemotherapy drugs, targeted agents are available to treat certain kinds of advanced colorectal cancer. Physicians can now routinely test for a gene mutation known as a KRAS mutation to help direct a patient’s therapy. Research has shown that if a patient has the KRAS mutation, he or she is less likely to respond to anti-EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) agents, such as cetuximab and panitumumab.
Knowing this information and being able to test for this gene mutation means physicians can spare certain patients from getting ineffective therapy that may cause toxicity. In some cases, testing for BRAF gene mutations can provide additional information to guide therapy in individual patients.
Read more about specific types of metastatic disease: