, Volume 11, Issue 8, pp 526-533
Date: 29 Aug 2009

Adjuvant chemotherapy for stages II, III and IV of colon cancer

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Colorectal cancer is the third most frequent malignant neoplasm in Western countries. After complete resection, 5-year overall survival varies according to the initial stage. Adjuvant chemotherapy (CT) is indicated in patients with colon cancer at high-risk stage II, stage III and after complete resection of metastases. 5-Fluorouracil (5FU), alone or modulated with levamisol or leucovorin (LV), oral fluoropyrimidines, raltitrexed, irinotecan and oxaliplatin have been studied as adjuvant therapy for colon cancer. Nowadays, oxaliplatin-based regimens, FOLFOX or FLOX, are considered as the standard adjuvant CT. If there are contraindications for oxaliplatin, the best alternatives are capecitabine or continuous infusion of 5FU/LV. The role of monoclonal antibodies, cetuximab and bevacizumab, combined with oxaliplatin/fluoropyrimidine-based CT is under investigation in clinical trials. This article reviews the state of the art and the future perspectives of adjuvant therapy in colon cancer. Prognostic and predictive factors are also commented on.