NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
October 5, 2004 • Volume 1 / Number 38 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Featured Clinical TrialFeatured Clinical Trial

Comparison of Chemotherapy Combinations for Colon Cancer

Name of the Trial
Phase III Randomized Study of Irinotecan (CPT-11) and/or Oxaliplatin (OXAL) Plus 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU)/Leucovorin (CF) with or without Cetuximab (C225) after Curative Resection for Patients with Stage III Colon Cancer (NCCTG-N0147). See the protocol summary at

Principal Investigators
Dr. Steven Alberts and Dr. Frank Sinicrope, North Central Cancer Treatment Group

Why is This Trial Important?
Colon cancer is among the most common cancer types in the United States. Surgery is often used to treat colon cancer, but even with potentially curative surgery, some cancer cells can remain in the body, especially if cancer has spread to the surrounding lymph nodes (stage III colon cancer). To fight these cancer cells, doctors may treat patients with post-operative (adjuvant) chemotherapy. Biological agents, such as monoclonal antibodies, may also be added to the chemotherapy.

This trial will include six different treatment groups. Patients will be randomly assigned to receive one of three different combinations of chemotherapy with or without the monoclonal antibody cetuximab. Cetuximab targets a protein, epidermal growth factor receptor, that may help some types of cancer cells to grow.

"For patients with lymph node involvement, the recurrence rate after surgery is historically about 50 to 70 percent," said Dr. Alberts. "Traditional adjuvant chemotherapy with fluorouracil and leucovorin, however, has produced definite improvements. Our hope is that the more active agents now available to us will further reduce the risk of recurrence without producing a lot of additional side effects compared with current standard therapy.

"By comparing these different regimens, we hope to determine what will become the state of the art in adjuvant therapy for colon cancer," added Dr. Alberts.

Who Can Join This Trial?
Researchers want to enroll 4,800 patients aged 18 and over, diagnosed with stage III colon cancer, who have had their tumors surgically removed. See the complete list of eligibility criteria at

Where Is This Trial Taking Place?
Multiple study sites in the United States are enrolling patients for this trial. See the full list of study sites at

Who to Contact
See the list of study contacts at or call the NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). The call is toll free and completely confidential.

An archive of "Featured Clinical Trial" columns is available at