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Xeloda survival rates same as IV chemotherapy in colon cancer

Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche reveals data from a study which shows that its oral chemotherapy drug Xeloda is as effective as the current standard treatment

Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche has presented data from a study which shows that its oral chemotherapy drug Xeloda (capecitabine) is as effective as the current standard treatment.

Five-year follow-up data from the X-ACT trial was presented at the 14th European Cancer Conference (ECCO) and showed that patients with stage III colon cancer experience equivalent survival with a trend toward better overall survival when taking the oral chemotherapy Xeloda, compared with the intravenous (IV) injections of bolus 5-FU/FA, the standard Mayo Clinic regimen. 

Patients were followed up for a median of seven years, with results confirming 5 year overall survival rates of 71.4 per cent in the Xeloda group and 68.4 per cent in the 5-FU/FA group. The trial also showed that patients taking Xeloda were at least as likely to be relapse-free and disease-free at five years as those having bolus IV treatment. 

Earlier results from the X-ACT study show that Xeloda is also more cost-effective than the standard regimen. Xeloda patients spend 85 per cent less time visiting their doctor or hospital for treatment, and for every 100 patients treated with Xeloda, a doctor could save approximately one year in consultation time compared with IV 5-FU/FA.

Additionally, any side-effects associated with Xeloda can be managed by dose modification, without compromising efficacy. Analyses of the X-ACT study showed that costs for medicines to treat side effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, were cut by nearly 75 per cent in patients taking Xeloda compared with IV 5-FU/FA.

Previous studies show that patients prefer oral treatment compared with IV treatments, as long as efficacy is not compromised, as it allows them to carry on their daily lives as normally as possible.

Based on the initial results of the X-ACT study, Xeloda was approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) and the FDA for post-surgical treatment of colon cancer in March and June 2005, respectively.

Earlier in 2007, Roche applied for a label extension in the EU to broaden the label for Xeloda in the form of Xeloda plus Xelox (oxaliplatin) with or without Avastin (bevacizumab) for the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer.  

Professor Chris Twelves of the University of Leeds and St James University Hospital, Leeds said: "There is now no reason we should ask colon cancer patients to endure the burdens associated with bolus IV treatment, visiting the clinic five consecutive days for an injection, when there is a highly effective option with fewer side-effects that patients can take in the comfort of their home. [The data] adds to the growing body of evidence supporting the fact that Xeloda can replace 5-FU in colorectal cancer regimens."

27th September 2007

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