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Posted by on Sep 4, 2019 in Colorectal cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated the effects of maintenance therapy (MT) compared to intermittent therapy (IT) for patients with metastatic (spread to other parts of the body) colorectal cancer. Researchers suggested that MT might improve the treatment of these patients.

Some background

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer worldwide. Surgery is the primary treatment of early cancer. However, patients with advanced cancer are often treated with chemotherapy as well.

MT is one of the treatments strategies for advanced patients. It consists in reducing the number of drugs in patients who are responding to the treatment until disease progression. This therapy consists of a less toxic number of drugs that do not affect treatment and quality of life.

Another strategy is intermittent therapy (IT) that consists of stopping the therapy until progression and resuming therapy after cancer progression. Prior studies showed that this therapy can improve overall survival (OS; time from treatment to death by any cause). While MT improves progression-free survival (PFS; time from treatment to progression) but not OS. The effectiveness of these two strategies in patients with advanced cancer remains unclear. 

Methods & findings

This study reviewed other 6 studies. It included overall 1975 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. The OS and PFS of the patients undergoing MT or IT were assessed.

Patients undergoing MT had a 14% improvement in the odds of a better OS. No significant difference was seen between both therapies in the first PFS. However, patients in the MT group had a 34% improvement in the odds of a better second PFS (progression after the first MT therapy) compared to IT.  

The bottom line

This study concluded that MT improves OS and second PFS in patients with advanced colorectal cancer.

The fine print

This study was based on information from medical records. Data may have been missing. Further studies are needed.

Published By :

Advances in therapy

Date :

Aug 20, 2019

Original Title :

Maintenance Versus Intermittent Strategies in the Treatment of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: A Meta-Analysis from Another Angle.

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