Adding cetuximab to the treatment regimen of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) results in worse outcomes, a controlled trial has shown. Cetuximab has some efficacy against CRC; however, combination therapy with capecitabine, oxaliplatin, bevacizumab and cetuximab resulted in a median progression-free survival of 9.4 months, compared with 10.7 months for patients receiving the capecitabine, oxaliplatin and bevacizumab regimen (P = 0.01). Quality of life scores were also lower in the cetuximab group. Patients treated with cetuximab who had tumours bearing a mutated KRAS gene had significantly reduced progression-free survival compared to those without the mutation who were receiving cetuximab, or patients with the mutation not receiving cetuximab.

Tol J, Koopman M, Cats A et al. N Engl J Med 2009;360:563-72

Originally published in the March 2009 edition of MIMS Oncology & Palliative Care.

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