Background: Cancer progression is associated with significant systemic clinical manifestations including cachexia induced weight loss and anorexia. Pentoxifylline (PTX) is a drug that has been shown to have multiple beneficial effects in cancer patients through its anti-inflammatory properties.
Main objective: To evaluate PTX effects on colon cancer patients treated with chemotherapy.
Patients and methods: Forty metastatic colon cancer patients receiving chemotherapy were enrolled in this randomized study. 17 patients were treated with a full dose of PTX (400 mg TID), 9 patients with a reduced dose PTX (200 mg TID) and 23 served as controls (no PTX).
Results: Follow-up evaluations of patients included the following: physical examination; leukopenia determination; weight determination; stomatitis determination; and survival rate. Patients treated with PTX (both full and reduced doses), experienced a significant increase in weight and a reduction in stomatitis relative to the control group. Treatment with PTX also significantly increased patient survival rate. All patients treated with PTX, had a median overall survival (OS) rate of 20.4 months as compared to 13.2 months in the control group.
Conclusions: PTX treatment of colon cancer patients, in addition to chemotherapy, significantly improved survival rates, induced weight gain and reduced stomatitis occurrence -all important parameters of cachexia.
Keywords: Pentoxifylline; cachexia; colon cancer; stomatitis; survival; weight gain.