Incidence and relative risk of grade 3 and 4 diarrhoea in patients treated with capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil: A meta-analysis of published trials

Roberto Iacovelli, Filippo Pietrantonio, Antonella Palazzo, Claudia Maggi, Francesca Ricchini, Filippo De Braud, Maria Di Bartolomeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

AIM: Capecitabine is an oral fluoropyrimidine that can effectively replace infusional 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) for treatment of colorectal, gastric and breast cancer. This study aims to analyze the incidence and the relative risk of grade 3 and 4 diarrhoea in patients treated with capecitabine or 5-FU in randomized clinical trials (RCTs).

METHODS: MEDLINE and Cochrane Library were reviewed for RCTs that compared capecitabine with 5-FU for treatment of solid malignancies. The incidence and relative risk (RR) of grade 3/4 diarrhoea were estimated for each arm in the overall population and in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients.

RESULTS: Twenty-three studies and 15 761 patients were included. Among these 8303 and 7458 patients received capecitabine or 5-FU based therapies, respectively. In the overall populations severe diarrhoea was reported in 16.6% (95% CI 15.8, 17.4) and in 12.7% (95% CI 11.9, 13.4) of patients treated with capecitabine or 5-FU-based therapies, respectively. The RR was 1.39 (95% CI 1.14, 1.69, P = 0.0010). In 14 899 CRC patients, the incidence of severe diarrhoea was 17.0% (95% CI 16.2, 17.9) and 12.9% (95% CI 12.1, 13.7), respectively, with a RR of 1.46 (95% CI 1.18, 1.81, P <0.0001). In CRC patients treated with combined chemotherapy, the RR was 1.40 (95% CI 1.07, 1.82; P = 0.01) for patients receiving oxaliplatin and 2.35 (95% CI 1.76, 3.13; P <0.0001) for patients receiving irinotecan.

CONCLUSIONS: Treatment with capecitabine is characterized by an increased risk of severe diarrhoea, mainly in patients affected by CRC and treated with polichemotherapy. Combination treatment with irinotecan doubles the risk over 5-FU.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1228-1237
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Volume78
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • 5-fluorouracil
  • Breast cancer
  • Capecitabine
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Diarrhoea
  • Gastric cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology

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