Irinotecan (CPT-11) is used as a first- and second-line chemotherapy for advanced or recurrent colorectal cancer (CRC). However, only 20%-30% of patients show an objective response to CPT-11 and the drug has severe toxicities, such as delayed-onset diarrhea, neutropenia, nausea, and vomiting. It is important to select patients who will demonstrate sensitivity to CPT-11 treatment to avoid unnecessary drug toxicities and to introduce anticancer treatment benefits to CRC patients. DNA topoisomerase I (Topo I) is essential for vital cellular processes such as DNA replication, transcription, translation, recombination, and repair. This article reviews the possibility of assessing Topo I protein expression in tumors as a biological marker for CPT-11 treatment in CRC.
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