May 26, 2009

Metastatic colon cancer survival rises

Novel chemotherapy and biological agents for metastatic colorectal cancer has resulted in increased patient survival, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston said researchers have made great strides in identifying active agents for the disease, resulting in U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of numerous chemotherapeutic agents.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, found that the median overall survival is now more than 30 months, compared with eight months for patients diagnosed before 1990. Five-year survival of patients diagnosed with the disease after 2004 is more than 30 percent.

In this study, we wanted to determine if these changes resulted in longer survival of metastatic colorectal cancer patients in a large population base, Kopetz, the study's corresponding author, said in a statement.

There had been some hints -- for example, in Phase III trials we had seen the overall survival increase over several years. However, because of the enormity of the data, the large population data bases are slow to reflect these changes, so there had not been a signal of increased survival.