Between January 1994 and November 1995, 41 patients with metastatic colorectal carcinoma were enrolled in this study. All these patients had recurrent disease after a prior 5-fluorouracil based adjuvant chemotherapy or failed to achieve response by prior chemotherapy that included 5-fluorouracil. 5-Fluorouracil, 2600 mg/m2, was administered concurrently with 100 mg/m2 leucovorin over 24 hours of continuous intravenous infusion. The treatment was repeated every week until progressive disease was documented. Forty-one patients received a total of 810 courses of treatment. The overall response rate was 17.1% (95% confidence interval 5.6-28.6%). In two patients who achieved complete response, the liver was the metastatic site. The median survival was 18.4 months for responders and 12.6 months for non-responders. Gastrointestinal toxicities including diarrhea, stomatitis, nausea and vomiting were the major side-effects. Sixteen incidences (39.0 %) of grade 2-3 gastrointestinal toxicities were observed. One patient (2.4%) developed a grade 3 cardiac toxicity, and another one (2.4%) had a grade 2 neurotoxicity. Hematological toxicities were minimal with no evidence of severe (grade 2 or more) leukopenia or thrombocytopenia. We conclude that in patients with pretreated metastatic colorectal cancer, weekly 24-hour infusion of high-dose 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin is associated with higher efficacy and tolerable toxicity. This regimen is a good option as a second-line treatment for those whose diseases are recurrent from or refractory to prior 5-fluorouracil, and deserves a longer period of follow-up.
- Colorectal cancer
- Weekly high-dose continuous infusion