Colorectal carcinoma is one of the most common types of cancer in Western countries and is consistently ranked among the top 3 causes of cancer-related deaths, with approximately 150 000 new cases in the United States and 55 000 deaths in 2006. The pathologist's assessment of tumor stage and stage-independent morphologic features, such as vascular/lymphatic invasion, influences treatment strategies for the individual patient, such as the decision to offer adjuvant therapy after surgery. However, although the pathologist influences clinical care in colorectal cancer, certain aspects of staging and evaluation of prognostic factors remain challenging and confusing.