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Targeting cancers in the gastrointestinal tract: role of capecitabine

Authors Muhammad Wasif Saif

Published Date March 2009 Volume 2009:2 Pages 29—41

DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S3469

Published 25 March 2009

Muhammad Wasif Saif

Yale Cancer Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA

Abstract: Capecitabine is currently the only novel, orally home-administered fluorouracil prodrug. It offers patients more freedom from hospital visits and less inconvenience and complications associated with infusion devices. The drug has been extensively studied in large clinical trials in many solid tumors, including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, and many others. Furthermore, the drug compares favorably with fluorouracil in patients with such cancers, with a safe toxicity profile, consisting mainly of gastrointestinal and dermatologic adverse effects. Whereas gastrointestinal events and hand-foot syndrome occur often with capecitabine, the tolerability profile is comparatively favorable. Prompt recognition of severe adverse effects is the key to successful management of capecitabine. Ongoing and future clinical trials will continue to examine, and likely expand, the role of capecitabine as a single agent and/or in combination with other anticancer agents for the treatment of gastrointestinal as well as other solid tumors, both in the advanced palliative and adjuvant settings. The author summarizes the current data on the role of capecitabine in the management of gastrointestinal cancers.

Keywords: 5-fluorouracil, capecitabine, chemotherapy, adjuvant, advanced, colon cancer, gastric cancer, hepatocellular cancer, pancreatic cancer, cholangiocarcinoma, rectal cancer, anal cancer

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