The backing for the use of UFT, tegafur/uracil, came after the success of two international phase III trials involving nearly 1 200 patients at 132 sites across Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and Israel.
The trials showed that survival rates from the treatment, given in combination with leucovorin, were similar to those from intravenous chemotherapy with 5-FU in combination with leucovorin.
"We can now offer an oral chemotherapy option to these patients." Prof. James Carmichael.
Patients on UFT experienced many fewer side effects, and incidences of neutropenia wererare. The survival rate for both treatments was just over a year.
The recommendation for approval includes 14 European Union countries together with Norway and Iceland.
Researcher Professor James Carmichael, of City Hospital, Nottingham, UK, said, "The positive recommendation of UFT represents a significant step forward in providing an effective, well-tolerated oral chemotherapy choice for patients with advanced colorectal cancer.
"Traditionally, these patients have been restricted to receiving intravenous treatment; we can now in addition offer a safe, effective oral chemotherapy option to these patients."
Manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb said it could now prepare to market UFT, which was developed in Japan.
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