Adjuvant treatment for colorectal cancer

Acta Gastroenterol Belg. 2001 Jul-Sep;64(3):263-7.


Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer in Western countries. Surgery remains the only way to cure it. Recent trials led to the general acceptance of adjuvant chemotherapy in Dukes C cancer by identifying bolus 5FU and leucovin during 6 months (5 days monthly) as the current standard. The role of adjuvant chemotherapy remains questionable in Dukes B2 (stage II) colon cancer, in rectal cancer and after curative resection of liver metastases. The development of total mesorectum excision (TME) technique has dramatically resulted in improving local recurrence control and will be the standard in rectal cancer surgery; preoperative irradiation is widely used in Europe for stage II and III rectal cancer but its definite place and its optimal regimen await further assessment as well as the role of adjuvant chemotherapy in rectal cancer. New chemotherapeutic combinations based on new effective agents in colorectal cancer such as CPT-11 and oxaliplatine have been currently used for downstaging liver metastases initially unresectable. This new approach, combined with the development of local ablative therapies such as cryotherapy and radiofrequency allows curative strategies in a significant number of patients primarily unfit for surgical resection of liver mets. The present paper aims to review the different aspect of (neo)adjuvant therapies in the multimodal curative management of colorectal cancers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma / mortality
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Fluorouracil / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Leucovorin / therapeutic use
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Leucovorin
  • Fluorouracil