Having chemotherapy first ‘may help fight rectal cancer’

16 May 2014

Undergoing chemotherapy before chemoradiation and surgery could benefit rectal cancer patients, according to research from Brown University.

Dr Kimberly Perez, lead author of the study, said that this method had enabled 36 of 39 patients to successfully complete a full course of mFOLFOX6 - a chemotherapy drug -  when it was moved to the front of the line.

She continued: “The thought was, what can we do to make it more tolerable and get the benefit that we wanted.

“It’s encouraging because we were able to get the numbers up of patients who were able to get all the chemotherapy indicated.”

According to the findings, all but one of the participants underwent surgery and 85 per cent received the chemoradiation after successfully completing a course of mFOLFOX6. This meant the majority of patients received all three steps of standard treatment, just in a new order.

Dr Perez noted that almost all of the patients were experiencing rectal bleeding at the beginning of the study, but this had subsided during the therapy.

The majority (32) of the participants had stage III cancer and the remaining seven were at stage II of the disease. All responded to the induction chemotherapy and chemoradiation treatments to some degree and by the time they started surgery 13 had no signs of a tumour.

Posted by Edward Bartel


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