Colorectal cancer, a clinically diverse disease, is a leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Application of novel molecular diagnostic tests, which are summarized in this article, may lead to an improved survival of colorectal cancer patients. Distinction of these applications is based on the different molecular principles found in colorectal cancer (CRC). Strategies for molecular analysis of single genes (as KRAS
) as well as microarray based techniques are discussed. Moreover, in addition to the fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) and colonoscopy some novel assays offer approaches for early detection of colorectal cancer like the multitarget stool DNA test or the blood-based Septin 9
DNA methylation test. Liquid biopsy analysis may also exhibit great diagnostic potential in CRC for monitoring developing resistance to treatment. These new diagnostic tools and the definition of molecular biomarkers in CRC will improve early detection and targeted therapy of colorectal cancer.