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Cancer Manag Res. 2011;3:295-9. doi: 10.2147/CMR.S12704. Epub 2011 Aug 19.

Use of capecitabine in management of early colon cancer.

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Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.


Capecitabine (Xeloda(®), Roche, Basel, Switzerland) is a pro-drug of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), and it is converted to 5-FU in the cancer cell by enzymatic degradation. The role of capecitabine in colorectal cancer has evolved in the last 15 years. In early trials in the metastatic setting, capecitabine has shown superior response rates compared with those achieved with 5-FU (Mayo Clinic regimen) (26% vs 17%), with equivalent progression-free survival and overall survival. In the adjuvant setting, the Xeloda in Adjuvant Colon Cancer Therapy (X-ACT) trial demonstrated that capecitabine as a single agent led to improvement in relapse-free survival (hazard ratio: 0.86, 95% confidence interval: 0.74-0.99, P = 0.04) and was associated with significantly fewer adverse events than 5-FU plus leucovorin (LV, folinic acid). On the basis of the X-ACT trial, capecitabine was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, and the Scottish Medicines Consortium as monotherapy for the adjuvant treatment of stage III colon cancer. The next step was to incorporate capecitabine into combination therapy. The XELOXA trial studied the combination of capecitabine and oxaliplatin (XELOX) vs 5-FU/LV and demonstrated 5-year disease-free survival of 66% for XELOX, compared with 60% for 5-FU/LV. The toxicity profile was also quite comparable in the two arms. So both the single agent use of capecitabine as well as in combination with oxaliplatin can be considered as part of the standard of care in management of early colon cancer in appropriately selected patient groups.


5-FU; 5-fluorouracil; FOLFOX; LV; XELOX; folinic acid; leucovorin; oxaliplatin

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