Colorectal Cancer Rx Shows More Promise

Regorafenib for previously treated metastatic colorectal cancer may boost progression-free survival

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) An experimental medication continues to show promise in treating colorectal cancer patients.

A new study on a drug called regorafenib found what earlier trials had found — that the drug may help patients with previously treated metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) live longer without their disease advancing.

"This study in a real world population of patients with pre-treated mCRC shows a similar safety profile and progression-free survival with regorafenib as shown in the [past] trial," said lead study author Dr. Eric Van Cutsem, of University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium, in a press release. "The findings add to our knowledge of how to select patients and how to manage toxicities. We need to establish clear guidelines on the management of adverse events to make taking the drug more tolerable for patients."

Colorectal cancer is a cancer that begins in the colon or rectum. When the cancer has metastasized, it has spread to other parts of the body. The more than 2,800 mCRC patients in this study received regorafenib for around 2.5 months. Their cancer had been previously treated with chemotherapy drugs, which target cancer cells, without success.

On average, these patients lived for 2.7 months without their cancer progressing while taking regorafenib, Dr. Van Cutsem and team found.

And while regorafenib did appear to cause adverse events — severe reactions to the drug — in around 80 percent of the study patients, Dr. Dirk Arnold, director of the Department of Medical Oncology at the Klinik für Tumorbiologie in Freiburg, Germany, said this may not pose a huge problem.

"There were no surprising findings in terms of toxicity," Dr. Arnold said in a press release. "All of the adverse events were ... likely manageable."

Dr. Arnold added that this study "depicts what we would expect from an observational trial in this setting. It shows that we have further treatment options for mCRC patients pre-treated with chemotherapy, and that this comes at the cost of a specific, but manageable toxicity profile."

These studies were presented July 3 at the European Society for Medical Oncology 17th World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Research presented at conferences may not have been peer-reviewed.

Funding and conflict of interest information was not available at the time of publication.

Review Date: 
July 2, 2015
Last Updated:
July 7, 2015