Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Is Capecitabine Tablet a Breakthrough in Cancer Treatment?

Professor Chris Twelves of the University of Leeds (UK), has led a study that followed 1,987 patients who had undergone colon cancer surgery. It found that patients treated with Capecitabine (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.

Prof Twelves says “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.”

He adds “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.”

The oral chemotherapy drug Xeloda (capecitabine) offers fewer side-effects and less time in hospital – and the trial has shown that patients given the drug were at least as likely to be alive and free of their disease as those on standard chemotherapy (the Mayo Clinic regimen).

Xeloda is manufactured by Roche Holding AG. The study's initial results helped the Swiss-based company win European and US approval in 2005 for using Xeloda to treat colon cancer after surgery. The medicine also is cleared for breast tumours, and in March Roche won European approval for its use with chemotherapy in people with advanced stomach cancer.

About 945,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each year globally, and the disease is responsible for about 492,000 deaths, according to Roche. The cancer is curable when caught early.

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