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Eur J Cancer. 2006 Nov;42(16):2738-43. Epub 2006 Sep 29.

Patient preference for oral or intravenous chemotherapy: a randomised cross-over trial comparing capecitabine and Nordic fluorouracil/leucovorin in patients with colorectal cancer.

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Department of Oncology, Odense University Hospital, Sdr. Boulevard 29, DK-5000 Odense C, Denmark.


Until recently, fluorouracil (F) and leucovorin (L) had been considered the standard therapy for patients with colorectal cancer. However, several studies have shown that oral therapy with UFT/L or capecitabine is as effective as intravenous (i.v.) therapy and in addition it is claimed that patients prefer oral to i.v. therapy as long as efficacy is not compromised. In a previous crossover study by Borner et al., it was shown that 26 out of 31 patients preferred oral therapy with UFT/L to i.v. FL (Mayo regimen) [Borner M, Schöffski P, de Wit R, et al. Patient preferences and pharmacokinetics of oral modulated UFT versus intravenous fluorouracil and leucovorin: a randomised crossover trial in advanced colorectal cancer. Eur J Cancer 2002;38:349-58]. The objective of the present study was to investigate patient preference between i.v. FL and oral capecitabine using the design described by Borner. The Nordic FL schedule is a bolus regimen with efficacy comparable to other i.v. regimens and at the same time a very tolerable and easy administered regimen. We randomised 60 patients with colorectal cancer (53 patients received adjuvant therapy and seven patients received palliative therapy) to start therapy with either oral capecitabine or Nordic bolus FL. After 6 weeks of therapy (two courses of capecitabine or three courses of Nordic FL) patients were crossed over to the other regimen. After having completed 12 weeks of therapy the patients (49 evaluable patients) were asked to choose one of the regimens for a further 12 weeks of therapy. Patients had more side-effect when treated with capecitabine and a total of 30 out of 49 (61%) preferred the Nordic FL regimen and 19 (39%) preferred capecitabine. We conclude that patients prefer the regimen with less toxicity and that it is of minor importance whether the medication is administrated orally at home or i.v. at the hospital.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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