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Potential Alternative Treatment for Asian Patients With Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2018

The combination chemotherapy drug TAS-102, incorporating trifluridine and tipiracil, improved overall survival by a statistically significant degree in Asian patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who were refractory to or intolerant of two or more previous chemotherapies. More than 400 patients in this cohort participated in the randomized, double-blind, phase III TERRA trial, and the results were reported by corresponding author Jin Li, MD, of Tongji University, Shanghai, China, and colleagues, in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The improvements in overall survival as well as in progression-free survival held, notably, “regardless of [earlier] exposure to biologic therapy,” wrote the authors. The study was conducted at 30 sites in China, Thailand, and the Republic of Korea, and “although Asian patients are treated according to guidelines, differences in health insurance policies and resource availability exist regarding targeted biologic therapies,” Dr. Li and colleagues pointed out.

Between 2013 and 2015, 406 patients were randomized to receive trifluridine/tipiracil (n = 271) or placebo (n = 135). Median overall survival was 7.8 versus 7.1 months, favoring the treatment group (P = .035). The median progression-free survival also favored the treatment group (2.0 vs. 1.8 months; P = .001).

With no treatment-related deaths reported and the incidence of serious adverse events being similar between the treatment arms, Dr. Li and colleagues concluded, “Trifluridine/tipiracil can be an alternative treatment option for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who are refractory or intolerant to standard chemotherapies.”

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