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J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2004 Aug;130(8):445-52. Epub 2004 Jun 15.

High-dose chronomodulated infusion of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and folinic acid (FA) (FF5-16) in advanced colorectal cancer patients.

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SC Oncologia Medica C, Istituto Regina Elena, Istituti Fisioterapici Ospitalieri, Via E. Chianesi, 53, 00144 Rome, Italy.



The best way to deliver infusional 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and folinic acid (FA) has yet to be determined. The aim of this prospective phase II trial was to verify the tolerability, activity and efficacy of chronomodulated 5-FU-FA (FF(5-16)) every 3 weeks in 48 untreated patients (group A), and 28 pretreated and four non-measurable, advanced colorectal cancer (ACC) patients (group B).


The sinusoidal delivery of both drugs started at 10.00 p.m. and ended at 10.00 a.m., with peak flow at 4.00 a.m. for 5 consecutive days. The initial 5-FU dose was 900 mg/m(2)/day with intra-patient dose increase at 1,000 and 1,100 mg/m(2)/day, at the second and third course, respectively; FA was injected at a fixed dose of 150 mg/m(2)/day (Garufi et al.1997).


Neither death from toxicity nor hematological toxicities were encountered. Maximal toxicity consisted of Grade 3 oral mucositis in 41% of patients, in only 8% of 535 courses. It was possible to achieve objective responses in 31% of untreated patients, with a progression free survival (PFS) of 7 months, median survival of 14 months and a 2-year survival rate of 28%. Similar results for PFS and survival were obtained in pretreated patients as well. Univariate analysis and multivariate analysis showed that response was related to the occurrence of mucositis and diarrhea ( p=0.03 and p=0.0007) and to performance status (PS) ( p=0.01). Quality of life, measured with the EORTC QLQ-C30+3 questionnaire, was unaffected by treatment and was better in patients with good PS and responsiveness.


In this chronomodulated FF(5-16) phase II study, the probability of obtaining a relevant tumor reduction was significantly correlated with a patient variable such as PS, and toxicity variables such as mucositis and diarrhea. This observation and the validation of predictive factors for QoL deserve further investigation in ACC patients.

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