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Long-term effect of 5-fluorouracil enhanced by intermittent administration of polysaccharide K after curative resection of colon cancer

A randomized controlled trial for 7-year follow-up


Background and aims

The efficacy of a biological response modifier polysaccharide K in adjuvant immunochemotherapy was evaluated in primary colon cancer patients with macroscopic Dukes' C after curative resection.

Patients and methods

Employing the minimization method using three factors (lymph node metastases, preoperative serum CEA level, and institution), 446 patients were allocated into groups P and C. Group P received immunochemotherapy, oral PSK (3 g per day) followed by oral 5-FU (200 mg/body per day), while group C received only intermittent chemotherapy, oral 5-FU (200 mg per day) followed by 4-week rest. Both groups received ten courses.


Survival for cancer death was significantly higher in group P than in group C, but there was no difference in 7-year disease-free survival or overall survival had.


Repeated alternating administration with PSK followed by 5-FU can improve survival for cancer death.

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We thank Ms. Atsuko Tanaka for the assistance in the preparation of the manuscript.

Author information

Correspondence to Katsuki Ito.

Additional information

The authors represent the Study Group of Immunochemotherapy with PSK for Colon Cancer

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Ito, K., Nakazato, H., Koike, A. et al. Long-term effect of 5-fluorouracil enhanced by intermittent administration of polysaccharide K after curative resection of colon cancer. Int J Colorectal Dis 19, 157–164 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00384-003-0532-x

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  • 5-Fluorouracil
  • Polysaccharide K
  • Colon cancer
  • Immunochemotherapy
  • Intermittent administration