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Chemotherapy Helps After Colon Cancer-Liver Resection

Chemotherapy found to improve five-year disease-free survival but not overall survival

THURSDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with resected liver metastases from colorectal cancer, even a suboptimal regimen of chemotherapy may provide a significant disease-free survival benefit compared to surgery alone, according to a report in the Nov. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Guillaume Portier, M.D., of Centre Hospitals-Universitaire in Toulouse, France, and colleagues compared outcomes in 87 patients who were assigned to surgery-alone and 86 patients who were assigned to surgery followed by six months of chemotherapy with fluorouracil and folinic acid.

The researchers found that the five-year disease-free survival rate was significantly higher in the chemotherapy group than in the surgery-only group (33.5 percent versus 26.7 percent). They also found that the chemotherapy group had a non-significant trend toward increased overall survival (51.1 percent versus 41.1 percent).

"In this trial, the original question of 'Does chemotherapy benefit patients after resection of liver-only metastases from colorectal cancer?' remains important," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "However, the chemotherapy used in this trial is now considered inferior to currently available regimens containing potentially more active agents such as oxaliplatin, irinotecan, bevacizumab, or cetuximab."

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