Research background

Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (CRT) is the gold standard in locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC), but the response is not uniform among patients and improvements are currently being assessed.

Project aims

The main aim of the STEPUPIORS project is to establish a European consortium of research institutions dedicated to defining prognostic and predictive biomarkers in rectal cancer.

Project evolution

The objectives of the STEPUPIORS project will be reached through 5 Working Packages (WPs) which would interrelate during the proposed 36-month period.

Expected impact

The STEPUPIORS project will address a need for a strong network of research institutions dedicated to rectal cancer research in Europe that will aid in better management of this subgroup of patients.

Expected results

A list of biomarkers useful for profiling of response to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy of locally advanced rectal cancer.


STEPUPIORS webinar on Preparing Future Faculty for Teaching by
Prof. Dr Ieronymos “Makis” Zoidakis, December 13th 2023 at 10:00 AM (CET)
Webinar will take place on Wednesday, December 13th, 2023, from 10:00 to 11:00 AM (CET).


Project description

Colorectal cancer starts in the colon or rectum and usually develops over time from precancerous polyps. Standard of treatment for locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC) involves neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (nCRT) followed by surgical resection of the tumour. However, clinical response to nCRT varies from complete clinical response to a lack of response. The mission of the EU-funded STEPUPIORS project is to identify prognostic and predictive biomarkers in LARC by analyzing the molecular profile of patients at diagnosis and during treatment. Given that colorectal cancer is the third most common malignancy worldwide, the results aim to support evidence-based patient selection and modification of current treatment protocols, thus minimizing adverse effects and overall treatment cost, and improving patients’ quality of life.