New drugs and combinations in the palliative treatment of colon and rectal cancer

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2001 Sep;27(6):595-600. doi: 10.1053/ejso.2001.1128.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a common disease. The overall survival has improved only marginally in recent decades despite advances in surgery and early detection. Potentially curative resection at disease presentation can be performed only in 70-80% of the patients, and overall survival at 5 years is less than 60%. Advanced disease is associated with a poor prognosis. Treatment for advanced colorectal cancer has nevertheless made progress in the last few years. Systemic chemotherapy doubles the survival of these patients compared to untreated controls. Chemotherapy has demonstrated effective palliation, improvement of quality of life (QoL) and symptom improvement in such patients. For nearly four decades, fluorouracil (5FU) has been the mainstay of treatment. New compounds active against colorectal cancer are now available. Several studies on this topic are ongoing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Platinum Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Prognosis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tegafur / administration & dosage
  • Thymidylate Synthase / administration & dosage
  • Thymidylate Synthase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Topoisomerase I Inhibitors
  • Uracil / administration & dosage
  • Uracil / analogs & derivatives*


  • Platinum Compounds
  • Topoisomerase I Inhibitors
  • Tegafur
  • eniluracil
  • Uracil
  • Thymidylate Synthase
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I