In a nutshell
This study investigated the effect of cetuximab (Erbitux) in patients with metastatic (spread to other parts of the body) colorectal cancer who did not respond to initial cetuximab treatment. Researchers suggested that this treatment may be beneficial in longer treatment durations.
The standard treatment for patients with metastatic (spread) colorectal cancer is chemotherapy combined to targeted therapy such as cetuximab. However, a treatment for patients who are resistant to the first line treatment does not exist.
A prior study suggested that re-treatment with cetuximab or panitumumab in patients who progressed after the first line of treatment with one of these drugs might benefit from a re-treatment. However, this theory needs further investigation.
Methods & findings
This study included 14 patients with inoperable colorectal cancer. These patients had improved outcomes after initial treatment with cetuximab. They received several lines of chemotherapy after cancer progression and finally received a second cetuximab treatment. For re-treatment patients received a combined treatment with cetuximab 2 times a week.
The average progression-free survival (PFS; time from treatment to progression) after first-line treatment was 6.6 months. The average time between initial treatment and re-treatment was 13.1 months.
The response rate after re-treatment was 21.4% and PFS was 4.4 months. 71% of patients experienced disease control after cetuximab re-treatment. The PFS after re-treatment was associated with the duration of initial cetuximab treatment.
The most common side effects to treatment were rash (100%) and a sore mouth (50%). No patients had to stop treatment due to side effects.
The bottom line
This study showed that cetuximab re-treatment may improve outcomes in patients who were good responders to a longer period of initial treatment.
The fine print
This was a rather small study which included Japanese patients. Larger studies in more diverse populations are needed.
Published By :
Sep 01, 2018
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