During the last 20 years there have been major therapeutic developments in colorectal cancer (CRC) with the introduction of multiple novel therapeutic agents into routine clinical practice. This has improved survival in both the adjuvant and advanced disease settings. However, improvements have come with substantial increases in expense to the community and potential toxicity to the patient. There has been substantial research to identify tumour factors in CRC that predict treatment response and survival outcomes. This research has identified clinically useful predictive biomarkers to aid clinical decision making, such as the presence or absence of KRAS gene mutations which can determine the benefit of using epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibiting antibodies. However, less attention has been paid to the identification and impact of predictive patient-derived factors such as age, gender and the presence of comorbid conditions or evidence of a systemic inflammatory response. In this article, the current concepts of tumour and patient-related predictive factors in CRC management are reviewed.