In a nutshell
This study investigated the effectiveness of cetuximab (Erbitux) combined with FOLFOX-4 (leucovorin, fluorouracil, and oxaliplatin) chemotherapy to treat metastatic (spread to other parts of the body) colorectal cancer (mCRC). Researchers suggested that this treatment is associated with improved cancer outcomes.
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer. New therapies have been improving the outcomes of mCRC over the past decade. The combination of targeted therapies (treatments that target specific molecules on cancer cells and kill tumors) such as cetuximab with chemotherapy increases the effect of the treatment in these patients. However, the effectiveness of cetuximab plus the chemotherapy FOLFOX-4 in mCRC patients is still not clear.
Methods & findings
This study included information about 393 patients with mCRC. Patients underwent therapy with either FOLFOX-4 chemotherapy alone (200 patients) or FOLFOX-4 with cetuximab (193 patients). Progression-free survival (PFS; time from treatment to cancer progression), overall survival and overall response rates were measured.
Compared to chemotherapy alone, patients in the combination group had a 31% higher chance of a better PFS. These patients also had a 24% higher chance of a better overall survival. Moreover, patients in the combination group were 2.41 times more likely to have a better tumor response than with chemotherapy alone.
Serious side effects were reported in 19.1% of patients in the combination group and in 13.1% of those treated with chemotherapy alone. The most common side effects were a low white blood cell count and skin reactions.
The bottom line
This study showed that patients with mCRC treated with cetuximab plus FOLFOX-4 have improved outcomes when compared to FOLFOX-4 alone.
The fine print
This study was funded by Merck KGaA, the manufacturer of cetuximab.
Published By :
Journal of clinical oncology
Sep 10, 2018
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