Adding cetuximab (Erbitux) to neoadjuvant chemotherapy shrank tumors enough to increase the success of curative surgery in colon cancer patients with inoperable metastatic liver lesions, according to the CELIM trial conducted in Germany and Austria.
Patients were randomized to cetuximab treatment with FOLFOX6 or with FOLFIRI. Treatment with cetuximab resulted in high tumor response rates and a 28% increase in the proportion of tumors that were amenable to surgery. Ultimately, surgery was achieved in 34% of the patients. Because of cetuximab treatment, 60% of tumors were deemed resectable vs 32% at the start of the study (Lancet Oncology online, November 24, 2009).