Recent advances in the pharmacological treatment of colorectal cancer
Recent advances in the treatment of colorectal cancer have lead to significant gains in response rates and survival. The combination of newer agents such as irinotecan and oxaliplatin with 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin using various dosing schedules in the metastatic setting has resulted in a steady improvement in the outcome of patients with colorectal cancer. Experimental therapies such as epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors, vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors and cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, have shown promise in early clinical trials and have acceptable toxicity profiles. Efforts towards improving risk-stratification of stage II colorectal cancer patients and optimising therapy in patients with advanced disease, have focused on molecular and genetic markers. It is hoped that the addition of new therapies to existing drug combinations, as well as further advances in the understanding of colorectal cancer biology, will lead to further improvement in survival and quality of life for patients.