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Longer Survival With FOLFOX4 in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Patients

Longer Survival With FOLFOX4 in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Patients

ROCHESTER, Minnesota—An interim analysis of the North American
Intergroup Study N9741 suggests that oxaliplatin (Eloxatin, investigational
in the United States) plus infusional fluorouracil (5-FU)/leucovorin (FOLFOX)
may be the new standard of care for patients with metastatic colorectal

"Treatment with FOLFOX resulted in significantly increased time to
progression, overall survival, and response rate when compared to irinotecan
(CPT-11, Camptosar)/bolus 5-FU/leucovorin (IFL)," Richard M. Goldberg,
MD, professor of oncology, Mayo Medical School, said at the 38th Annual
Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (abstract 511).
"The toxicity profile favors FOLFOX over IFL," he added.

The primary goal of the study was to compare times to tumor progression.
The trial, which at one time had six different arms, underwent several
modifications: In March 1999 to include oxaliplatin; in March 2000, when IFL
became the standard of care; and in April 2001 to address IFL toxicity,
which led to a dose reduction in the IFL arm. However, the findings reported
at ASCO include results only from the 765 patients enrolled in the three
final arms prior to lowering the IFL dose. The three regimens were as

  • IFL (Saltz regimen): irinotecan 125 mg/m² plus leucovorin 20 mg/m² and
    bolus 5-FU 500 mg/m² on days 1, 8, 15, and 22 every 6 weeks
  • FOLFOX4 (de Gramont regimen): oxaliplatin 85 mg/m² on day 1, followed
    by leucovorin 200 mg/m² and a loading dose of 5-FU at 400 mg/m². The loading dose is followed by a 22-hour infusion of 5-FU at 600
    mg/m². The 5-FU and leucovorin are repeated on days 1 and 2 every 2 weeks.
  • IROX (Wasserman regimen):
    oxaliplatin 85 mg/m² plus irinotecan 200 mg/m² on day 1 every 3 weeks.

A planned interim intent-to-treat analysis was conducted in April 2002,
because 81% of the planned events had occurred, and upon review, the North
Central Cancer Treatment Group data monitoring committee recommended the
study’s release. "The stopping boundaries for the comparison of IFL
and FOLFOX were crossed," Dr. Goldberg said.

The median age of the 795 patients was 61 years; 94% to 95% had an ECOG
performance score of 0 to 1, and 15% to 16% had received prior adjuvant
therapy. At the time of this analysis, the median follow-up for living
patients was 12 months, and approximately 70% of patients had shown disease

The median time to progression was 6.9 months for IFL, 8.8 months for
FOLFOX4, and 6.7 months for irinotecan plus oxaliplatin (see table below). "The time to progression curves for IFL and FOLFOX diverged early,
and this separation was maintained until 2 years from study entry," Dr.
Goldberg said.

Median overall survival with IFL was 14.1 months, with FOLFOX 18.6
months, and with IROX 16.5 months, Dr. Goldberg said. "One year after
they had been enrolled on the study, 58%, 71%, and 65% of patients were
alive, respectively." The response rates were IFL 29%, FOLFOX 38%, and
IROX 28%.


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