Protracted continuous infusion of 5-fluorouracil and low-dose leucovorin in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer resistant to 5-fluorouracil bolus-based chemotherapy: A phase II study

Alfredo Falcone, Giacomo Allegrini, Monica Lencioni, Elisabetta Pfanner, Isa Brunetti, Caudia Cianci, Costanza Galli, Gianluca Masi, Andrea Antonuzzo, Pierfranco Conte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Continuous-infusion (c.i.) 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) can overcome resistance to bolus 5-FU, and leucovorin (LV) enhances the cytotoxic effects of 5-FU, mainly when the duration of exposure to the latter is prolonged. The main objective of this study was therefore to determine the activity of a prolonged infusion schedule of 5-FU + LV in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer resistant to a 5-FU bolus-based chemotherapy. Only patients with metastatic measurable disease in progression during or within 2 months of the end of a 5-FU bolus ± LV-based chemotherapy were eligible for the study. 5-FU and 1-LV were given as a 14-day c.i. every 28 days, the 5-FU dose being 200 mg/m2 per day and the 1-LV dose being 5 mg/m2 per day. A total of 59 patients entered the study, of which 48 were resistant to 5-FU + LV and 11, to 5-FU + levamisole. Treatment was well tolerated, and WHO grade 3-4 toxicities were uncommon (11% of patients developed stomatitis and 7%, diarrhea). According to an intent-to-treat analysis, 10 of 59 patients obtained an objective response (1 complete response, 9 partial responses), for an objective response rate of 16% (95% confidence interval 8-25%). The median progression-free survival and overall survival were 4 and 9 months, respectively. The protracted 5-FU + LV c.i. schedule used in the present study is a well-tolerated and moderately active regimen in metastatic colorectal cancer patients resistant to 5-FU bolus ± LV. Only randomized studies can determine whether this palliative treatment has advantages in comparison with other second-line therapies such as 5-FU c.i. without LV, irinotecan, or oxaliplatin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-163
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Keywords

  • 5-Fluorouracil
  • Advanced disease
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Continuous infusion
  • Drug resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology

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