Xeloda and irinotecan for second or later lines in colorectal cancer

The issue that we will discuss is Xeliri (Xeloda and irinotecan) in second or later line of therapy. It is a tempting regimen because Xeldoa is an generally effective drug for colorectal cancer and it is oral.  We start by pointing out that there are now six different classes of drugs with significant antitumor activity in colon cancer:

Fluoropyrimidine (5-fluorouracil [5-FU] which is usually given with leucovorin [LV], capecitabine, tegafur plus uracil [UFT]). Irinotecan, Oxaliplatin, Cetuximab and panitumumab. The latter two are monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs) directed against the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and bevacizumab, is a monoclonal antibody targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Zaltrap was recenlty(2012) also approved.

The best way to combine and sequence all of these drugs to optimize treatment is not yet established, although for intial treatment of metasatic colorectal cancer NCCN recommends combinations of 5FU and Lekovorin with oxaliplatin or irinotecan with or without Avastin, CAPEOX, 5FU/Leukovorin, Xeloda and Avastin or Folfoxiri.

For second or third line therapy, single agents are acceptable and NCCN lists irinotecan as a single agent. It also lists combinations, see p. COL-C of the NCCN guideline for colon cancer. NCCN has a complex schema when to give what for second line and also lists irinnotecan or Folfiri with Erbitux, Zaltrap or Vectbix. However, it does not list irinotecan with Xeloda.

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