Colorectal cancer causes about 10 percent of cancer deaths each year.Researchers say that doctors may soon have one more option for patients who have colorectal cancer that resists standard chemotherapy treatment. New research shows the drug cetuximab, also known as Erbitux, may be a promising new therapy.
The standard treatment for colorectal cancer patients is the drug irinotecan (Camptosar) that can be given alone or with fluorouracil (Adrucil) and leucovorin (Wellcovorin). Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) is another approved regimen that can be used. But for patients who do not respond to irinotecan, cetuximab may be the answer.
Cetuximab is in a new class of cancer drugs called targeted therapies because they attack cancer and leave healthy cells alone.Patients either received cetuximab and irinotecan or cetuximab alone. Researchers say, although modest, the patients on cetuximab alone or in combination with irinotecan saw improvements in survival.
Thus specialists say that Cetuximab combined with irinotecan offers patients with metastatic colorectal cancer another treatment option after failing treatment with irinotecan .