The University of Leeds study has shown that the oral chemotherapy drug Xeloda (capecitabine), has fewer side effects, and has proved successful on almost 2,000 patients by giving them a better chance of surviving the disease.
"Standard chemotherapy can be incredibly disruptive to people's lives. Patients visit hospital five days a week for the injections and then have three weeks off before returning to hospital for the next course - and the side effects can be unpleasant," said lead researcher Prof Professor Chris Twelves.
Researchers say that Xeloda offers fewer side-effects and less time in hospital.
Prof Twelves' trial on patients has shown that those given the drug were at least as likely to be alive and free of their disease as those on standard chemotherapy.
The study showed that about 71 percent of patients given Xeloda were still alive after five years, compared to 68 percent of patients treated with standard chemotherapy injections.
Prof Twelves's study followed 1,987 patients who had undergone colon cancer surgery. It found that patients treated with Xeloda spent 85 percent less time with their doctor or at the hospital, and experienced fewer side effects.
The new results, showing patients' five-year survival rates, confirm the effectiveness of the treatment.
"We now have long-term evidence now that clearly supports Xeloda's superiority over the Mayo Clinic regimen. There is now no reason why we should ask colon cancer patients to endure the burdens associated with that older treatment," said Prof Twelves.