Difference Between Left-Sided and Right-Sided Colorectal Cancer: A Focused Review of Literature

Burcin Baran, Nazli Mert Ozupek, Nihal Yerli Tetik, Emine Acar, Omer Bekcioglu, Yasemin Baskin


Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide with a high mortality rate at the advanced stages. However, colorectal cancer is not a single type of tumor; its pathogenesis depends on the anatomical location of the tumor and differs between right side and left side of the colon. Tumors in the proximal colon (right side) and distal colon (left side) exhibit different molecular characteristics and histology. In the right-sided tumors, mutations in the DNA mismatch repair pathway are commonly observed; and these tumors generally have a flat histology. In the left-sided tumors, chromosomal instability pathway-related mutations, such as KRAS, APC, PIK3CA, p53 mutations are observed and these tumors demonstrate polypoid-like morphology. Therapy responses are totally different between these tumor entities. Left-sided colorectal cancer (LCRC) patients benefit more from adjuvant chemotherapies such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-based regimes, and targeted therapies such as anti- epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) therapy, and have a better prognosis. Right-sided colorectal cancer (RCRC) patients do not respond well to conventional chemotherapies, but demonstrate more promising results with immunotherapies because these tumors have high antigenic load. For the development of effective therapy regimes and better treatment options, it is essential to evaluate right-sided and left-sided tumors as separate entities, and design the therapy regime considering the differences between these tumors.

Gastroenterol Res. 2018;11(4):264-273
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/gr1062w


Colorectal cancer; Right side; Left side; Epidemiology; Molecular mechanism; Adjuvant chemotherapies; Targeted therapies; Immunotherapies

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