Background & aims: Adjuvant 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-based chemotherapy is standard treatment for stage C colorectal cancer (CRC). Approximately 12% of CRCs are characterized by microsatellite instability (MSI), a hallmark of a DNA mismatch repair defect. We investigated the safety of adjuvant 5-FU-based chemotherapy for MSI(+) CRC and compared the prognosis of MSI(+) and MSI(-) CRC patients receiving adjuvant therapy.
Methods: Previously, a prospective series consisting of 1044 consecutive CRCs has been collected and the MSI status of each sample determined. Patients with stage C cancer who had received adjuvant chemotherapy (n = 95) were followed up for 7-63 months (median, 31 months) after surgery.
Results: No unexpected or serious adverse effects were observed when 5-FU-based chemotherapy was used as adjuvant treatment for MSI(+) CRC. Three- year recurrence-free survival was 90% and 43% in the MSI(+) (n = 11) and MSI(-) (n = 84) groups, respectively (P = 0.020).
Conclusions: Adjuvant 5-FU-based chemotherapy is feasible for both MSI(+) and MSI(-) CRCs, and patients with MSI(+) CRC who receive adjuvant therapy have an excellent prognosis.