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Clin Colorectal Cancer. 2010 Dec;9(5):290-6. doi: 10.3816/CCC.2010.n.042.

Cetuximab is associated with excessive toxicity when combined with bevacizumab Plus mFOLFOX6 in metastatic colorectal carcinoma.

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  • 1New York Cancer Consortium and the University of Chicago Phase II Consortium, including Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, USA.



The bevacizumab-cetuximab combination has shown promising activity in chemotherapy-refractory metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). We sought to determine the safety and efficacy of cetuximab added to bevacizumab plus standard mFOLFOX6 (modified 5-fluorouracil [5-FU]/leucovorin/oxaliplatin) as first-line therapy for mCRC.


Sixty-six patients received cetuximab (400 mg/m2 loading dose, then 250 mg/m2 weekly intravenously [I.V.]) plus bevacizumab 5 mg/kg and mFOLFOX6 chemotherapy every 2 weeks. The primary endpoint was toxicity.


The most common grade 3-4 events included diarrhea (14%), fatigue (14%), neuropathy (12%), venous thrombosis (9%), acneiform rash (8%), and desquamation (8%). A protocol-defined prohibitive adverse event occurred in 4 patients (6%), including 2 treatment-associated deaths. Thirty-seven patients (56%) discontinued therapy before disease progression because of either toxicity (n = 19; 29%) or patient withdrawal (n = 18; 27%). Twenty-eight of 37 patients (76%) who discontinued therapy before disease progression did so because of cetuximab-associated toxicity.


Although the addition of cetuximab to bevacizumab plus mFOLFOX6 was not associated with excessive life-threatening toxicity, many patients discontinued therapy because of cetuximab-associated toxicity. Taken together with the results of recently reported phase III trials, cetuximab should not be used concurrently with bevacizumab and infusional 5-FU, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin chemotherapy for the treatment of mCRC.

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