Background: The purpose of this randomised phase III trial was to evaluate whether the addition of simvastatin, a synthetic 3-hydroxy-3methyglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor, to XELIRI/FOLFIRI chemotherapy regimens confers a clinical benefit to patients with previously treated metastatic colorectal cancer.
Methods: We undertook a double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III trial of 269 patients previously treated for metastatic colorectal cancer and enrolled in 5 centres in South Korea. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to one of the following groups: FOLFIRI/XELIRI plus simvastatin (40 mg) or FOLFIRI/XELIRI plus placebo. The FOLFIRI regimen consisted of irinotecan at 180 mg m(-2) as a 90-min infusion, leucovorin at 200 mg m(-2) as a 2-h infusion, and a bolus injection of 5-FU 400 mg m(-2) followed by a 46-h continuous infusion of 5-FU at 2400 mg m(-2). The XELIRI regimen consisted of irinotecan at 250 mg m(-2) as a 90-min infusion with capecitabine 1000 mg m(-2) twice daily for 14 days. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS). Secondary end points included response rate, duration of response, overall survival (OS), time to progression, and toxicity.
Results: Between April 2010 and July 2013, 269 patients were enrolled and assigned to treatment groups (134 simvastatin, 135 placebo). The median PFS was 5.9 months (95% CI, 4.5-7.3) in the XELIRI/FOLFIRI plus simvastatin group and 7.0 months (95% CI, 5.4-8.6) in the XELIRI/FOLFIRI plus placebo group (P=0.937). No significant difference was observed between the two groups with respect to OS (median, 15.9 months (simvastatin) vs 19.9 months (placebo), P=0.826). Grade⩾3 nausea and anorexia were noted slightly more often in patients in the simvastatin arm compared with with the placebo arm (4.5% vs 0.7%, 3.0% vs 0%, respectively).
Conclusions: The addition of 40 mg simvastatin to the XELIRI/FOLFIRI regimens did not improve PFS in patients with previously treated metastatic colorectal cancer nor did it increase toxicity.