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Br J Cancer. 2001 Nov 16;85(10):1437-43.

Adjuvant 5FU plus levamisole in colonic or rectal cancer: improved survival in stage II and III.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Amsterdam.

Abstract

Based on the first favourable results of adjuvant therapy of 5FU plus levamisole in Dukes C colonic cancer in 1990, we conducted a prospective trial. 1029 patients were randomised to receive one year 5FU plus levamisole or no further treatment following curative surgery for stage II or III colon (n = 730) or rectal cancer (n = 299). 45% were in stage II and 55% in stage III. With a median follow-up of 4 years and 9 months a significant reduction in odds of death (25%, SD 9%, P = 0.007) was observed for those with adjuvant treatment (65% at 5 year) compared to the observation group (55%). Improved relative survival was present in stage III (56% vs 44%), and in stage II patients (78% vs 70%). In rectal cancer a non-significant difference in disease-free or overall survival was observed. Distant metastases developed in 76%, while local recurrence alone occurred in 14%. An early start of adjuvant treatment (< 4 weeks) did not affect results. Compliance to 5FU plus levamisole was 69%. Severe toxicity did not occur. In conclusion, one year 5FU plus levamisole was of benefit in stage II and III colonic cancer; in rectal cancer a significant positive effect could not be demonstrated.

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