Abstract: The 2007 Santa Monica Conference on Assessing and Treating Early-Stage Colon and Rectal Cancer, a multidisciplinary meeting of leaders in surgery, medical and radiation oncology, and pathology, was convened January 12 to 13, 2007. The purpose of the meeting was to assess current data and issues in the field and to develop recommendations for advancing patient care and clinical research. Topics included pathologic assessment and staging, transanal versus laparoscopic versus open resection, adjuvant therapy, genetic testing and counseling, cooperative group strategies, and the use of biological therapies and novel agents. A review of the key issues discussed, as well as conclusions and recommendations considered significant to the field, is summarized below and presented at greater length in the individual manuscripts and accompanying discussion that comprise the full conference proceedings. Although the management of early-stage colon and rectal cancers remains a challenge for all of us, the development and use of new technologies and methods of assessment and treatment over the past several decades is yielding encouraging results. A variety of opportunities to further improve outcomes were addressed in this forum, including recommendations that specific protocols be adopted regarding surgical and pathologic dissection and reporting, particularly for state II disease; the corollary need to increase active multidisciplinary collaboration; and the development of comprehensive consensus guidelines and recommendations to standardize care in early-stage colorectal cancer.
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