Treatment of colorectal cancer
The genetic material in the cancer cells found in colorectal cancer mutate over time, which means that the chemotherapy provided needs to change over time if it is to be effective – a challenge posed by most types of cancer. New drugs are constantly being introduced, but will for a long time, act more as complements to existing cytostatics than as replacements for them. These supplementary treatments are used in new combinations designed to enhance the treatment’s efficiency. The 5-FU-based cytostatic combination in which arfolitixorin is being trialled will be a cornerstone treatment for colorectal cancer for many years to come.
The use of cytotoxins, biological and other targeted drugs increases as colorectal cancer develops into more advanced and metastasised stages of the disease, with radiotherapy sometimes also provided, particularly for patients with localised tumours.
Stage IV – initial treatment area for arfolitixorin
Surgery is usually contraindicated in stage IV, when the cancer has spread outside the intestine, because it has no positive effect on the prognosis. Surgery is consequently only used in exceptional cases, such as when the tumour is mechanically blocking passage through the intestine. Chemotherapy is the most common treatment used palliatively to relieve symptoms and extend the patient’s life. Other types of therapy are sometimes also used to this end. Newly developed drugs may be introduced to complement existing combinations and improve the treatment outcome, but both Isofol and the company’s international clinical experts expect the 5-FU-based treatment combination to continue to be a cornerstone of colorectal cancer treatment. This combination has, in spite of the introduction of other treatment alternatives, continued to make the biggest difference to extended survival rates – see appended graph showing the stages of colorectal cancer.
Radiotherapy, which plays a prominent role in the treatment of many types of cancer, is primarily used to treat rectal tumours (rectal cancer).
Immunotherapy of limited value for colorectal cancer
The clinical value to patients with colorectal cancer of the immunotherapeutic drugs that have attracted so much attention recently has been limited, to date. Immunotherapy is, for the time being, applicable within certain well-defined groups of CRC patients (only 4% of patients with mCRC can be treated with existing immunotherapeutic drugs). Immunotherapy uses the patient’s own immune system to inhibit the tumour growth.