Cetuximab Linked to Resection of Liver Metastases

-- Eric Metcalf

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with colorectal liver metastases, chemotherapy with cetuximab was associated with high rates of tumor response and resection of metastases, according to research published online Nov. 25 in The Lancet Oncology.

Gunnar Folprecht, M.D., of the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus in Dresden, Germany, and colleagues analyzed data from 109 patients with colorectal cancer and non-resectable liver metastases. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive cetuximab along with either oxaliplatin, fluorouracil and folinic acid, or irinotecan, fluorouracil and folinic acid. The primary end point was tumor response assessed by RECIST criteria, and subjects were regularly assessed for resectability.

The researchers found that in the first group, 68 percent of the subjects had a partial or complete response, as did 57 percent of patients in the second group. R0 resection was performed in 38 and 30 percent of patients in these groups, respectively. The most common toxicities of grade 3 and worse were skin toxicity and neutropenia.

"With a median time to resection of 5.1 months (IQR 4.4 to 5.9) we recommend that patients with liver metastases should be reassessed by a multidisciplinary team three months after neoadjuvant treatment at the latest. Furthermore, based on our findings that a relatively small number of patients underwent resection after eight months of treatment, we recommend that if resectability is not achieved by a maximum of six months of treatment, the general treatment strategy needs to be reassessed," the authors write.

The study was supported by Merck Serono, Sanofi-Aventis, and Pfizer. Several co-authors reported financial relationships with these and other pharmaceutical companies.

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