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NCI Is Testing Thalidomide to Prevent Colorectal Cancer Recurrence

NCI Is Testing Thalidomide to Prevent Colorectal Cancer Recurrence

BETHESDA, Md—The National Cancer Institute has launched a double-blind study of thalidomide (Thalomid) to test its effectiveness in preventing colorectal cancer recurrence. The study will enroll 94 patients who will make their medical visits at the National Institutes of Health. Half will receive thalidomide, and half will get a placebo.

Eligible patients are men and women with local recurrence in the colon following surgery or whose colon cancer has metastasized but is operable.

Patients will begin thalidomide at 100 mg/day, with escalation up to 300 mg/day if tolerated. Because of thalidomide’s sedative effect, patients will take their pills once daily at bedtime. Patients will remain in the study up to 2 years.

Thalidomide prevents the growth of new blood vessels, such as those needed for a tumor to grow. Because of its well-known ability to cause severe birth defects, both men and women participating in the trial must agree to use two types of contraception.

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