Purpose: To investigate the combination of erlotinib, capecitabine, and oxaliplatin in patients who were previously treated for metastatic colorectal cancer.
Patients and methods: Patients were eligible if they had metastatic colorectal cancer that progressed, were intolerant to first-line chemotherapy, or had disease recurrence within 1 year of adjuvant therapy for early-stage disease. Each 21-day cycle consisted of daily oral erlotinib at 150 mg, oral capecitabine at 1,000 mg/m2 (reduced to 750 mg/m2 after the first 13 patients) twice a day on days 1 to 14, and intravenous oxaliplatin at 130 mg/m2 on day 1.
Results: Thirty-two patients were enrolled onto this phase II study. By intention-to-treat analyses, eight patients (25%) experienced a partial response and 14 patients (44%) had stable disease for at least 12 weeks. The median progression-free survival was 5.4 months and the median overall survival was 14.7 months. These results were essentially unchanged when limited to the cohort of patients (78%) who received prior irinotecan for metastatic colorectal cancer. Most common grade 3 to 4 toxicities included diarrhea (38%), nausea/emesis (19%), fatigue (16%), dehydration (16%), and dermatitis (13%); grade 3 or 4 toxicities were reduced with a lower starting dose of capecitabine.
Conclusion: The combination of capecitabine, oxaliplatin, and erlotinib seems to have promising activity against metastatic colorectal cancer in patients who received prior chemotherapy, with a relatively higher response rate and progression-free survival compared with previous reports of either infusional FU, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin or capecitabine and oxaliplatin in similar patient populations.