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Br J Cancer. 2008 Apr 8;98(7):1204-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604297. Epub 2008 Mar 18.

Phase II study of capecitabine and oxaliplatin given prior to and concurrently with preoperative pelvic radiotherapy in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer.

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  • 1Division Oncology/Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, Kantonsspital St Gallen, St Gallen CH-9007, Switzerland.


This multicentre phase II study evaluated the efficacy and safety of preoperative capecitabine plus oxaliplatin and radiotherapy (RT) in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer (T3/T4 rectal adenocarcinoma with or without nodal involvement). Treatment consisted of one cycle of XELOX (capecitabine 1000 mg m(-2) bid on days 1-14 and oxaliplatin 130 mg m(-2) on day 1), followed by RT (1.8 Gy fractions 5 days per week for 5 weeks) plus CAPOX (capecitabine 825 mg m(-2) bid on days 22-35 and 43-56, and oxaliplatin 50 mg m(-2) on days 22, 29, 43 and 50). Surgery was recommended 5 weeks after completion of chemoradiotherapy. The primary end point was pathological complete tumour response (pCR). Sixty patients were enrolled. In the intent-to-treat population, the pCR rate was 23% (95% CI: 13-36%). 58 patients underwent surgery; R0 resection was achieved in 57 (98%) patients, including all 5 patients with T4 tumours. Sphincter preservation was achieved in 49 (84%) patients. Tumour and/or nodal downstaging was observed in 39 (65%) patients. The most common grade 3/4 adverse events were diarrhoea (20%) and lymphocytopaenia (43%). Preoperative capecitabine, oxaliplatin and RT achieved encouraging rates of pCR, R0 resection, sphincter preservation and tumour downstaging in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer.

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