Subgroup Analysis by Liver Metastasis in the FRESCO Trial Comparing Fruquintinib versus Placebo Plus Best Supportive Care in Chinese Patients with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

Onco Targets Ther. 2021 Aug 11;14:4439-4450. doi: 10.2147/OTT.S307273. eCollection 2021.


Objective: The aim of the present subgroup analysis of the FRESCO trial is to determine the efficacy and hepatotoxicity of fruquintinib in Chinese patients with metastatic CRC with liver metastasis (CRLM) who were receiving third-line or posterior-line therapy.

Methods: Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were evaluated by Kaplan-Meier method. Hazard ratio (HR) was estimated through Cox proportional hazards model. Hepatotoxicity was coded using the standardized MedDRA queries of hepatic failure, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and other liver injury-related conditions and graded using the Common Terminology Criteria Adverse Events grades. The efficacy of fruquintinib in patients with CRLM was evaluated in various subgroups.

Results: A total of 287 (69.0%) patients with metastatic CRC had liver metastasis (LM, fruquintinib: 185 and placebo: 102). Median OS in patients with CRLM was significantly prolonged with fruquintinib compared with placebo (8.61 months vs 5.98 months; HR=0.59, 95% CI, 0.45-0.77, P<0.001). In patients with CRLM, the incremental median PFS for patients in the fruquintinib-treated group was significantly higher than in the placebo group (median PFS: 3.71 vs.1.84 months; HR=0.22, 95% CI: 0.17-0.30; P<0.001). Compared with placebo, significant improvements in OS were observed with fruquintinib in LM patients regardless of lung metastasis, prior target therapy, and K-RAS status. In patients with CRLM, treatment-emergent hepatotoxicities of any grade occurred in 7 (3.8%) patients in the fruquintinib group vs 2 (2.0%) in the placebo group.

Conclusion: Fruquintinib demonstrated a statistically significant increase in OS and PFS as compared with placebo in Chinese patients with CRLM. The hepatotoxicity of fruquintinib was less reported, and comparable with placebo in patients with CRLM.

Clinicaltrialsgov identifier: NCT02314819.

Keywords: FRESCO trial; colorectal cancer; fruquintinib; liver metastasis.

Associated data


Grant support

The FRESCO trial was co-funded by Eli Lilly and Company (Indianapolis, IN, USA) and Hutchison MediPharma (Shanghai, China). The role of the funding source includes study design, data acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data, and the decision to submit the article for publication. All authors had full access to all of the data in this study and take complete responsibility for the integrity of the data and accuracy of the data analysis. Medical writing assistance support for this publication was funded by Eli Lilly and Company.