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Drug that helps metastatic colon cancer of no benefit in less advanced tumors
Date:6/7/2010

CHICAGO -- ASCO Abstract Number: CRA3507 (http://abstract.asco.org/AbstView_74_41265.html). To the surprise of researchers at Mayo Clinic who led a national clinical trial, a targeted therapy that provides benefit to patients with metastatic colon cancer has failed to help patients with less advanced, stage III cancer. In fact, patients who used the agent, cetuximab, with chemotherapy had outcomes slightly inferior to patients treated with chemotherapy alone.

The phase III North Central Cancer Treatment Group (http://ncctg.mayo.edu/) (NCCTG) study, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (http://www.nci.nih.gov/ ) (NCI), was closed to patient accrual in November 2009 after a planned interim analysis demonstrating a lack of benefit from the addition of cetuximab to standard chemotherapy. The first public discussion of the study and results presented in a press conference June 6 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (http://www.asco.org/ ) (ASCO).

In theory, many of the patients enrolled on this trial should have benefited from the addition of cetuximab to chemotherapy, says Steven Alberts, M.D. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/bio/11035374.html), the Mayo Clinic oncologist (http://www.mayoclinic.org/oncology/) who led the clinical trial. All of the patients enrolled in the trial had colon cancers that had spread to the nearby lymph nodes (stage III), but not beyond. To be eligible for the trial, patients first had to have the cancer completely removed with surgery. These patients also had a normal (wild-type) KRAS gene in their tumor, which previously has been shown necessary to have the potential for cetuximab to work.

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Contact: Karl Oestreich
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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