Purpose: To compare the efficacy and tolerability of eniluracil (EU)/fluorouracil (5-FU) with that of 5-FU/leucovorin (LV) as first-line therapy for patients with metastatic/advanced colorectal cancer.
Patients and methods: This multicenter, randomized, open-label, phase III study (FUMA3008) conducted in the United States and Canada compared the safety and efficacy of EU/5-FU (11.5 mg/m(2)/1.15 mg/m(2) twice daily for 28 days every 35 days) with that of intravenous 5-FU/LV (425 mg/m(2)/20 mg/m(2) once daily for 5 days every 28 days) in patients with previously untreated metastatic colorectal cancer. Overall survival (OS) was the primary end point.
Results: A total of 981 patients were randomized and 964 patients received treatment (485 EU/5FU, 479 5FU/LV). Survival for EU/5-FU was not statistically equivalent (but not statistically inferior) to that for 5-FU/LV (hazard ratio, 0.880; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.75 to 1.03). Median duration of survival was 13.3 months in the EU/5-FU group and 14.5 months in the 5-FU/LV group. Median duration of progression-free survival for EU/5-FU was statistically inferior to that of the control group (20.0 weeks [95% CI, 19.1 to 20.9 weeks] v 22.7 weeks [95% CI, 18.3 to 24.6 weeks]; P =.01). Both treatments were well tolerated. Diarrhea was the most common nonhematologic toxicity in both groups; treatment-related grade 3 or 4 diarrhea occurred in 19% of patients treated with EU/5-FU and 16% of patients receiving 5-FU/LV (P =.354). Grade 3 or 4 granulocytopenia occurred in 5% of EU/5-FU patients and 47% of 5-FU/LV patients.
Conclusion: Safety profiles of both treatments were acceptable. Although antitumor activity was observed, EU/5-FU did not meet the protocol-specified statistical criteria for equivalence to 5-FU/LV in terms of OS.