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Rectal Cancer treatment details. Biologic therapy. Chemotherapy. University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium



Survival: 19.9 months
   
Toxicity Grade: 4
   
Treatments: Biologic therapy
Chemotherapy
   
Drugs: Leucovorin
Country: Belgium
   
City/State/Province: Leuven
   
Hospital: University Hospital Gasthuisberg
   
Journal: Link
   
Date: 4/2009

Description:
Patients:
The patients in this study were separated into 2 treatment groups (arms). Arm A involved 599 patients, 61.6% of whom were male. Arm B also involved 599, 59.4% of whom were male. The median age for both groups was 61 years.

Treatment:
Patients in Arm A of the study received the biologic therapy cetuximab, which is a monoclonal antibody that targets cancer cells to be killed by the immune system, as well as the chemotherapeutic agents irinotecan, fluorouracil, and leucovorin. Patients in Arm B received irinotecan, fluorouracil, and leucovorin only.

Toxicities:
The highest level of toxicity observed was grade 4. The most common grade 3 or 4 toxicities were neutropenia (28.2% in arm A and 24.6% in arm B) and diarrhea (15.7% in arm A and 10.5% in arm B). In addition, 19.7% of patients in arm A had grade 3 or 4 skin reactions, mostly an acne-like rash.

Results:
The median overall survivals were 19.9 months for arm A (range of 18.5-21.3) and 18.6 months for arm B (range of 16.6-19.8).

Support:
This study was supported by Merck, a pharmaceutical company.

Correspondence: Dr. Eric Van Custem; email: eric.vancutsem@uz.kuleuven.ac.be

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