November 2nd 2005
Several developments in the past few years have incrementally progressedthe field and provided additional insights into the managementof advanced colorectal cancer. This review discusses the componentsof current cytotoxic chemotherapy regimens for advanced colorectalcancer: fluorouracil (5-FU), capecitabine (Xeloda), irinotecan(Camptosar), and oxaliplatin (Eloxatin). The equivalence of severalfront-line regimens has provided opportunities for increased tailoringof therapies for individual patients. Preliminary data onpharmacogenomics provides hope that we will be able to better matchpatients with regimens and doses on the basis of individualized predictionsof toxicity and response. The importance of second-line therapyin overall survival has again been highlighted; the best outcomes haveoccurred in patients treated with 5-FU, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan incombination with targeted therapies during the course of their disease.Elderly patients are no exception to this finding. Combination regimensand second-line therapy should be offered to elderly patients whohave adequate performance status and no contraindicated comorbidconditions, without regard for their chronological age.