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J Clin Oncol. 2008 Oct 1;26(28):4544-50. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2008.17.1249.

Oxaliplatin plus irinotecan compared with irinotecan alone as second-line treatment after single-agent fluoropyrimidine therapy for metastatic colorectal carcinoma.

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Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, 16 Penn Tower, 3400 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19014-4283, USA.


PURPOSE To determine whether irinotecan plus oxaliplatin (IROX) is superior to irinotecan alone in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) previously treated with single-agent fluoropyrimidines. PATIENTS AND METHODS A phase III, randomized, open-label, multicenter study of patients with metastatic or recurrent CRC that had progressed or recurred during or after adjuvant or first-line fluoropyrimidines (fluorouracil/leucovorin or capecitabine, the latter only for metastatic CRC). Patients received IROX (irinotecan 200 mg/m(2) plus oxaliplatin 85 mg/m(2)) or irinotecan alone (350 mg/m(2)) every 3 weeks.


At the data cutoff (when 447 of 628 randomly assigned patients had died), median overall survival was 13.4 months (95% CI, 12.4 to 14.7 months) and 11.1 month (95% CI, 10.0 to 12.7 months) in the IROX and irinotecan groups, respectively (hazard ratio = 0.78; 95% CI, 0.65 to 0.94; P = .0072). Overall response rate (22% v 7%, respectively; P < .0001), median time to progression (5.3 v 2.8 months, respectively; P < .0001), and improvement in tumor-related symptoms (32% v 19%, respectively; P = .0072) were also improved with IROX as compared with irinotecan. With the exception of granulocytopenia (25% v 13%), diarrhea (28% v 23%), and sensory disturbances (5% v 0%), grade 3 to 4 toxicities were comparable between the IROX and irinotecan groups, respectively. CONCLUSION IROX is an effective treatment for metastatic CRC that has progressed after first-line fluoropyrimidine therapy. IROX improves efficacy compared with irinotecan alone, providing an additional option in the postadjuvant or second-line treatment setting for patients who experience treatment failure with single-agent fluoropyrimidine therapy.

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