Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a worldwide health problem with 655,000 deaths per year. In the United States, CRC is the third most common cancer type and the second most common cause of cancer-related death, with an estimated 51,370 deaths in 2010 according to the National Cancer Institute. In China, CRC remains the fifth most common cancer type and the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death. Despite early screening and development of new chemotherapeutic strategies, CRC survival rates during the past 20 years have not substantially improved. Moreover, the incidence of CRC is increasing rapidly in recent years in China. Therefore, it is critical to identify novel diagnostic/prognostic markers in CRC and identify novel genetic mutations that can potentially be targeted for therapeutics in the future. In a recent joint study between this team of collaborators we found that microRNA-141 (miR-141) is elevated in the plasma of metastatic CRC patients from both MDACC and Tianjin Cancer Hospital. We hypothesize that the increased miR-141 is produced by distant metastases.