Tablet is better all round for cancer patients

October 8, 2007

A drug to treat colon cancer is proving much more convenient than traditional chemotherapy, has fewer side effects - and a study of almost 2,000 patients has shown it is giving them a better chance of surviving the disease.

“Standard chemotherapy can be incredibly disruptive to people’s lives,” said Prof Professor Chris Twelves of the University of Leeds, who led the research. “Patients visit hospital five days a week for the injections and then have three weeks off before returning to hospital for the next course – and the side effects can be unpleasant.”

The oral chemotherapy drug Xeloda (capecitabine) offers fewer side-effects and less time in hospital – and the trial has shown that patients given the drug were at least as likely to be alive and free of their disease as those on standard chemotherapy (the Mayo Clinic regimen).

The research showed that about 71 percent of patients given Xeloda were still alive after five years, compared to 68 percent of patients treated with standard chemotherapy injections.

Prof Twelves’s study followed 1,987 patients who had undergone colon cancer surgery. It found that patients treated with Xeloda spent 85 percent less time with their doctor or at the hospital, and experienced fewer side effects. The new results, showing patients’ five-year survival rates, confirm the effectiveness of the treatment.

“We now have long-term evidence now that clearly supports Xeloda's superiority over the Mayo Clinic regimen,” said Prof Twelves. “There is now no reason why we should ask colon cancer patients to endure the burdens associated with that older treatment.”

Source: University of Leeds

Explore further: More care is needed for cancer supportive care

Related Stories

More care is needed for cancer supportive care

November 20, 2017
The relentless efforts devoted to improving prevention, early detection, and treatment have resulted in more and more cancer survivors worldwide. In fact, there is a decrease in overall cancer mortality rate of about 1% per ...

What to expect from lung cancer surgery

November 16, 2017
Surgery remains the primary treatment for early-stage lung cancer, and most commonly that means a procedure called lobectomy, which removes about one-third to one-half of the lung with the tumor.

Study shows alectinib 600 mg more effective than crizotinib in Asian cancer patients

November 17, 2017
A subanalysis of the phase III ALEX study has shown that alectinib 600 mg twice daily is more effective than standard of care crizotinib in Asian patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive non-small-cell lung ...

New cancer cell screening is improving childhood leukaemia treatment

November 14, 2017
A study has shown that current methods used to determine the correct level of chemotherapy required for each young patient may be improved by looking at the genetic make-up of the child's cancer cells.

Researchers discover an Achilles heel in a lethal leukemia

November 16, 2017
Researchers have discovered how a linkage between two proteins in acute myeloid leukemia enables cancer cells to resist chemotherapy and showed that disrupting the linkage could render the cells vulnerable to treatment. St. ...

Computer program finds new uses for old drugs

November 16, 2017
Researchers at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have developed a computer program to find new indications for old drugs. The computer program, called DrugPredict, ...

Recommended for you

Clinical trial suggests new cell therapy for relapsed leukemia patients

November 20, 2017
A significant proportion of children and young adults with treatment-resistant B-cell leukemia who participated in a small study achieved remission with the help of a new form of gene therapy, according to researchers at ...

Researchers discover a new target for 'triple-negative' breast cancer

November 20, 2017
So-called "triple-negative" breast cancer is a particularly aggressive and difficult-to-treat form. It accounts for only about 10 percent of breast cancer cases, but is responsible for about 25 percent of breast cancer fatalities.

Study reveals new mechanism used by cancer cells to disarm attacking immune cells

November 20, 2017
A new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James) identifies a substance released by pancreatic cancer cells that protects ...

Cell-weighing method could help doctors choose cancer drugs

November 20, 2017
Doctors have many drugs available to treat multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. However, there is no way to predict, by genetic markers or other means, how a patient will respond to a particular drug. This can lead to ...

Lung cancer triggers pulmonary hypertension

November 17, 2017
Shortness of breath and respiratory distress often increase the suffering of advanced-stage lung cancer patients. These symptoms can be triggered by pulmonary hypertension, as scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Heart ...

Pharmacoscopy improves therapy for relapsed blood cancer in a first clinical trial

November 16, 2017
Researchers at CeMM and the Medical University of Vienna presented a preliminary report in The Lancet Hematology on the clinical impact of an integrated ex vivo approach called pharmacoscopy. The procedures measure single-cell ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gdpawel
not rated yet Oct 10, 2007
A Dose of Influence?

Would a clinical trial to show when drugs are selected with and without the presence of profit differential (which would include oral-dose drugs), clinical outcomes would be the same?

Dr. Neil Love's "Patterns of Care" reported a survey of breast cancer oncologists based in academic medical centers and community based, private practice medical oncologists. The former oncologists do not derive personal profit from the administration of infusion chemotherapy, the latter oncologists do derive personal profit from infusion chemotherapy, while deriving no profit from prescribing oral-dosed chemotherapy.

The results of the survey could not have been more clear-cut. For first line chemotherapy of metastatic breast cancer, 84-88% of the academic center-based oncologists (who are motivated to keep off-protocol patients out of their chemotherapy infusion rooms to reserve these rooms for on-protocol patients) prescribed oral-dose drug Xeloda (capecitabine), while only 13% prescribed infusion drugs, and none of them prescribed the expensive, highly remunerative drug Taxotere (docetaxel).

In contrast, among the commuity-based oncologists, only 18% prescribed the non-remunerative oral-dose drug Xeloda (capecitabine), while 75% prescribed remunerative infusion drugs, and about 40% prescribed the expensive, highly remunerative drug docetaxel.

ASCOs President says that we go by the literature, which has defined which are the best regimens. Well, how does he explain why the academics prescribe oral dose Xeloda to their metastatic breast cancer patients who aren't on their protocols, which keeps them from clogging up their chemo rooms and resources, which they want to use for the patients on their clinical trials, while the community oncologists almost universally prescribe infusion therapy, with the most popular drug being the still on patent Taxotere (docetaxel), which I do surmise has one of the best "spreads" between acquisition costs and average reimbursement.

The academic center-based oncologists are not without collective guilt. They are misguided in not recognizing that they continue to try and mate a notoriously heterogeneous disease into "one-size-fits-all" treatments. They predominately devote their clinical trial resources into trying to identify the best treatment for the "average" patient, in the face of evidence that this approach is non-productive. However, such unsuccessful experiments will never be viewed as such by the people whose careers are supported by these kinds of experiments.

What was interesting about the "Patterns of Care" study was that it is contemporary, after the Medicare reform. It shows that the Medicare reforms haven't solved the problem. It's not that all oncologists are bad people. It's just an impossible conflict of interest, it's the system which is rotten. The solution is to change the system. So far, Medicare reform hasn't achieved that.

http://patternsof...itor.htm (figure 37, volume 2, issue 1, 2005)

http://www.nytime...52158400&en=55fd0d687b5771de&ei=5070

http://www.cancer...#Section 297

http://content.he...25/2/437

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.