In a nutshell
This study investigated the effectiveness and safety of preventative antibiotic treatment with clarithromycin (Biaxin) to prevent skin-related side effects associated with panitumumab (Vectibix) treatment for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). The data showed that clarithromycin administered daily along with a simple skincare regimen significantly reduced the skin-related side effects associated with panitumumab for these patients.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide. Some patients do not report symptoms with the initial tumor. These patients are often only diagnosed when the cancer has spread to other areas (metastatic CRC). The standard treatment for these patients is chemotherapy combined with targeted therapy. Treatment options for mCRC are limited.
Panitumumab is a type of targeted therapy. It works by targeting certain proteins on the cancer cells and stops them from growing. Chemotherapy with panitumumab has been shown to improve survival in patients with mCRC. However, treatment with panitumumab leads to skin side effects, such as rash, in most patients.
Clarithromycin is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections, pneumonia, and skin problems. However, there are few studies evaluating the effectiveness and safety of preventative antibiotic treatment with clarithromycin to prevent skin-related side effects associated with panitumumab treatment for patients with mCRC.
Methods & findings
This study involved 156 patients with mCRC treated with panitumumab. Patients were randomly assigned into 2 groups. Group 1 included 78 patients who received clarithromycin daily as a preventative treatment to panitumumab along with a skincare regimen. Group 2 included 78 patients who received only a skincare regimen as a reactive treatment to panitumumab.
The number and frequency of skin-related side effects after 6-weeks was 21.3% for group 1 and 54.7% for group 2. Patients in group 1 were 68% less likely to experience skin-related side effects compared to patients in group 2.
Overall, 41.3% of patients in group 1 responded to treatment compared to 50.7% for group 2. The disease control rate (the tumor does not grow or spread) was 72% for group 1 compared to 81.3% for group 2. These differences were not statistically significant.
The rate of diarrhea was significantly higher for patients in group 1 (8%) compared to patients in group 2 (1.3%).
The bottom line
This study concluded that clarithromycin administered daily along with a simple skincare regimen significantly reduced the skin-related side effects associated with panitumumab for the treatment of patients with mCRC.
The fine print
The sample size was small. Larger studies with longer follow-up times are necessary to validate the conclusions.
Published By :
International Journal of Colorectal Disease
Aug 03, 2021
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