An increasing number of studies are describing potential uses of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) in the care of patients with colorectal cancer. Owing to this rapidly developing area of research, the Colon and Rectal–Anal Task Forces of the United States National Cancer Institute convened a panel of multidisciplinary experts to summarize current data on the utility of ctDNA in the management of colorectal cancer and to provide guidance in promoting the efficient development and integration of this technology into clinical care. The panel focused on four key areas in which ctDNA has the potential to change clinical practice, including the detection of minimal residual disease, the management of patients with rectal cancer, monitoring responses to therapy, and tracking clonal dynamics in response to targeted therapies and other systemic treatments. The panel also provides general guidelines with relevance for ctDNA-related research efforts, irrespective of indication.
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