Chemotherapy Switch Extends Survival in Advanced Cancer

Longer survival seen with multiple drugs in colon cancer treatment

THURSDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Current chemotherapy regimens are effective at prolonging survival in patients with advanced colorectal cancer, for example, by adding irinotecan and bevacizumab to a fluorouracil and leucovorin regimen, according to a meta-analysis published online Sept. 20 in The Lancet Oncology.

John P.A. Ioannidis, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Ioannina in Greece performed a meta-analysis of 242 trials over the past 40 years involving 56,677 patients comparing systemic treatment regimens for advanced colorectal cancer.

The researchers found that for patients with an expected one-year survival after treatment with fluorouracil and leucovorin, the addition of irinotecan and bevacizumab extended survival by eight months, the addition of oxaliplatin plus bevacizumab or irinotecan extended survival by 4.7 months, and the addition of oxaliplatin alone or irinotecan alone extended survival by 1-1.8 months.

"Distinct incremental benefits are noted for diverse chemotherapy regimens in patients with advanced colorectal cancer, with more prominent effects on disease progression than on death," Ioannidis and colleagues conclude.

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