Chemotherapy for Mucinous Adenocarcinoma of the Colon

James P. Stevenson, MD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
I was wondering what you could tell me about Mucinous Adenocarcinoma of the colon and a new treatment using CPT11-5FU-LUKOVORAN?  

James P. Stevenson, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Hematology/Oncology Division of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, responds:

Mucinous adenocarcinoma is a term that describes the way this colon cancer looks under a microscope. We treat it the same way as any other colon cancer. The CPT11/5-FU/leucovorin combination is now the standard front-line treatment for metastatic colon cancer. It combines drugs that have been known to be active against colon cancer. Multiple studies have shown that by combining them, better tumor response rates (about 50%) and survival of patients can be expected than when they are used alone.

The treatments are given once a week for 4 consecutive weeks followed by a 2-week break period with no treatment. These 6-week cycles can be repeated if there are signs of improvement. There are randomized trials looking at adding newer drugs to this combination, such as anti-VEGF and celecoxib that may be available in your area, and are being studied here at Penn. You might ask your oncologist if you may be eligible for any of these studies.