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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 16

of 'Systemic chemotherapy for metastatic colorectal cancer: Completed clinical trials'

Randomized trial comparing weekly bolus 5-fluorouracil plus leucovorin versus monthly 5-day 5-fluorouracil plus leucovorin in metastatic colorectal cancer.
Wang WS, Lin JK, Chiou TJ, Liu JH, Fan FS, Yen CC, Lin TC, Jiang JK, Yang SH, Chen PM
Hepatogastroenterology. 2000;47(36):1599.
BACKGROUND/AIMS: The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy and toxicity profiles of weekly intravenous (i.v.) bolus injection of 5-fluorouracil plus low-dose leucovorin with the Mayo Clinics' monthly 5-day schedule of 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer.
METHODOLOGY: A total of 96 patients with previously untreated metastatic colorectal cancer were randomized to receive either a weekly i.v. bolus injection of 5-fluorouracil 400 mg/m2 plus leucovorin 20 mg/m2 (weekly arm), or i.v. bolus injection of 5-fluorouracil 425 mg/m2 plus leucovorin 20 mg/m2 for 5 consecutive days every 4 or 5 weeks (monthly arm). Therapy was continued until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity appeared. In the presence of disease progression, the study regimen was stopped and second-line treatment was instituted after the patient was discontinued from this study.
RESULTS: There was no significant difference of response rates between both regimens. The response rate were14.3% in the weekly arm (2 CR and 5 PR, 95% CI: 2.6-25.2%) and 10.6% in the monthly arm (1 CR and 4 PR; 95% CI: 6.5-32.3%), respectively (P = 0.8957). The survival times were also similar between the two (P = 0.4207, log-rank test). The median survival were 15.8 months in the monthly arm and 18.4 months in the weekly arm. Hematologic toxicity was minimal in both arms. However, the monthly arm produced a higher toxicity in severe (grade 3-4) diarrhea (14.9% vs. 2%; P = 0.029) and stomatitis (8.5% vs. 0; P = 0.054).
CONCLUSIONS: Weekly bolus injection of 5-fluorouracil and low-dose leucovorin achieved a similar response rate and survival as compared with the Mayo Clinics' monthly 5-day schedule, but severe toxicity was less commonly seen using the weekly regimen. As current chemotherapeutic treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer is largely palliative rather than curative, the weekly bolus regimen may be a more favorable approach in managing metastatic colorectal cancer.
Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, Veterans General Hospital-Taipei, Taipei 11217, Taiwan, ROC.