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Developments in treating metastatic colorectal cancer: Recent international reports from ASCO 2007 and 2008

Authors Ducreux M

Published 4 February 2009 Volume 2009:2 Pages 13—19


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Michel Ducreux

Gastro-Intestinal Unit, Institut Gustave-Roussy, Villejuif Cedex, France; Department of Oncology, Paul Brousse University Hospital, Villejuif, France; Paris-Sud XI University, Le Kremlin Bicêtre, France

Introduction: Treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), employing various schedules, combinations, and regimens utilizing 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), irinotecan, oxaliplatin, capecitabine, bevacizumab, and cetuximab, currently achieves an overall survival that extends to approximately two years. Major questions regarding optimal management of mCRC await resolution.

Methods: A thorough review was conducted of all mCRC abstracts, posters, and other presentations at the 2007 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Information was analyzed in relationship to previously published research to determine the potential impact of new data on current and future mCRC management strategies and patient outcomes. Updated data presented at ASCO 2008 relevant to these findings was also analyzed.

Discussion: Ongoing challenges in mCRC treatment include defining the optimal role of targeted agents such as cetuximab and bevacizumab, elaborating the mechanisms underlying their toxicities, resolving the benefits of adjuvant and neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients who are candidates for surgical resection, establishing whether there are substantive differences between sequential and combination chemotherapy regimens, and determining the safety and tolerability of chemotherapy in elderly subjects.

Conclusion: Recent reports presented at ASCO 2007 and 2008 indicate incremental improvements in care of patients with mCRC. Nevertheless, irinotecan, oxaliplatin, 5-FU, and to an increasing extent the targeted biologic agents bevacizumab and cetuximab continue unchallenged as first-line and later selections.

Keywords: chemotherapy, combination chemotherapy, irinotecan, bevacizumab, cetuximab

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