The field of colorectal cancer chemotherapy has been transformed by the advent of molecule-specific drugs.
Combined use of such drugs enhances tumor response rates.
|Disease-free survival, overall survival and quality of life are favorably influenced|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
Controlled data quantifying the relative efficacy and cost-effectiveness of different drug combinations on overall survival remain scarce.
Dr Yau and colleagues from China conducted an overview of published clinical trials in advanced colorectal cancer, with the objective of framing provisional approaches to current management.
The team performed an NCBI/PubMed search using the term ‘colorectal cancer'.
Other terms included ‘metastatic' or ‘advanced' or ‘palliative', and ‘chemotherapy', ‘drug therapy', ‘targeted', ‘target-specific' or ‘molecularly-targeted'.
The researchers found that combinations of target-specific drugs, with or without the DNA-alkylating agent oxaliplatin, have substantially enhanced colorectal cancer time to progression over the last decade.
These drugs have also expedited surgical resection of liver metastases.
Disease-free survival, overall survival and quality of life are favorably influenced.
Dr Yau's team concluded, "Target-specific drugs improve palliative efficacy in the setting of advanced colorectal cancer."
"However, key issues persist as to the cost-effectiveness of these newer drug treatments, and further controlled trials are needed to resolve this important debate."