Optimizing Metastatic CRC Outcomes Following Fruquintinib Approval


Oncology pharmacist Jagoda Misniakiewicz, PharmD, discusses the potential efficacy and safety profile of fruquintinib in patients with metastatic CRC.

In a conversation with CancerNetwork®, Jagoda Misniakiewicz, PharmD, a clinical pharmacy specialist in the Clinical Pharmacy and Outcomes Sciences Department at Hollings Cancer Center of the Medical University of South Carolina, spoke about the use of fruquintinib (Fruzaqla) as a treatment option for those with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC).

The FDA previously approved fruquintinib as a treatment for those with metastatic CRC and prior treatment with fluoropyrimidine-, oxaliplatin-, and irinotecan-based chemotherapy and anti-VEGF therapy in November 2023.1

Misniakiewicz detailed the agent’s mechanism of action as a potent, orally available small molecule kinase inhibitor and its potential to inhibit blood vessel growth, thereby yielding vascular regression, normalization, and construction. Additionally, the clinical benefit of switching from intravenous therapy to this oral treatment appears to extend to any patient who has progressed on prior therapy, although she noted that there are currently no specific biomarkers or tumor characteristics that would make patients suitable candidates for fruquintinib.

The discussion also focused on the efficacy and safety data supporting the clinical utility of fruquintinib in this patient population. Specifically, Misniakiewicz highlighted the “exciting” progression-free survival (PFS) findings from the phase 3 FRESCO-2 trial (NCT04322539), which may affirm fruquintinib as a “promising treatment option” for those with refractory disease.

According to previous findings from the FRESCO-2 trial published in Lancet Oncology, the median PFS was 3.7 months (95% CI, 3.5-3.8) with fruquintinib plus best supportive care vs 1.8 months (95% CI, 1.8-1.9) with placebo plus best supportive care (HR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.27-0.39; P <.0001).2 Additionally, the median overall survival (OS) was 7.4 months (95% CI, 6.7-8.2) vs 4.8 months (95% CI, 4.0-5.8) in each respective arm (HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.55-0.80; P <.0001). PFS and OS benefits across various patient subgroups—in which investigators stratified patients based on previous treatment with trifluridine/tipiracil (Lonsurf) or regorafenib (Stivarga), RAS mutation status, and duration of metastatic disease—were comparable with those observed in the intent-to-treat population.

“The truth is that treatment options for metastatic [CRC] are limited, and the approval of fruquintinib will hopefully bridge that gap a little bit,” Misniakiewicz said. “Oral agents have changed the landscape of treatment for patients with cancer. Furthermore, targeted agents allow us to tailor therapy with the goal of improving clinical outcomes while minimizing off target toxicities; fruquintinib will hopefully allow us to do this in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.”


  1. Takeda receives U.S FDA approval of Fruzaqla (fruquintinib) for previously treated metastatic colorectal cancer. News release. Takeda. November 8, 2023. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://bit.ly/3SwkD8U
  2. Dasari A, Lonardi S, Garcia-Carbonero R, et al. Fruquintinib versus placebo in patients with refractory metastatic colorectal cancer (FRESCO-2): an international, multicentre, randomised, double-blind, phase 3 study. Lancet. Published online June 15, 2023. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(23)00772-9
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