Setting a New Standard--Irinotecan (Campto) in the Second-Line Therapy of Colorectal Cancer: Final Results of Two Phase III Studies and Implications for Clinical Practice

Semin Oncol. 1999 Feb;26(1 Suppl 5):1-5.


The final results of two very important randomized trials of irinotecan (Campto, Rhône-Poulenc Rorer, Antony, France) as second-line treatment for patients with advanced colorectal cancer are presented. In one trial, the new topoisomerase inhibitor was compared with best supportive care; in the other, its use was compared with the strategy of high-dose 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) infusion. In both trials, patients randomized to irinotecan experienced superior survival. In the comparison against best supportive care, patients treated with irinotecan also had a significantly superior quality of life. In the comparison with infusional 5-FU, the more effective antitumor activity of irinotecan may have helped maintain quality of life. These results have implications for clinical practice: following failure on 5-FU, irinotecan must now be considered the best available option for treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Camptothecin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Camptothecin / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Fluorouracil / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Irinotecan
  • Palliative Care
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Topoisomerase I Inhibitors*


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Topoisomerase I Inhibitors
  • Irinotecan
  • Fluorouracil
  • Camptothecin