Drug Updates

Chemotherapy before surgery can reduce risk of colon cancer recurrence, says Cancer Research UK trial

A recent clinical trial funded by Cancer Research UK has found that administering chemotherapy before surgery can significantly lower the risk of colon cancer recurrence. The FOxTROT trial, led by the University of Birmingham and the University of Leeds, involved 1,053 colon cancer patients from 85 hospitals across the UK, Denmark, and Sweden. The trial demonstrated that providing patients with six weeks of chemotherapy before surgery reduces their risk of the disease returning within two years by 28%.

The FOxTROT trial divided colon cancer patients into two groups: the first group received six weeks of chemotherapy before surgery, followed by 18 weeks of chemotherapy after surgery, while the second group received standard treatment of surgery first followed by 24 weeks of chemotherapy. Researchers found that patients who had chemotherapy before surgery were less likely to see their cancer return than those who received all their chemotherapy after surgery.

Chemotherapy before surgery is a treatment that could be easily adopted by healthcare systems across the world. At least 5,000 colon cancer patients in the UK and hundreds of thousands of patients globally could benefit from this treatment every year. The trial’s results showed that giving chemotherapy to bowel cancer patients before surgery could be a cost-effective way of treating the disease and may save thousands of lives.

According to the FOxTROT trial’s co-leader, Professor Dion Morton, “This treatment could be used on the widest possible group of patients. Thanks to funding from Cancer Research UK, doctors in countries around the world will now be able to put these findings into clinical practice, saving many thousands of lives.”


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