Patients with unresectable metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) requiring maintenance therapy following bevacizumab-based induction therapy may have a new non-chemotherapy-based frontline option in bevacizumab plus erlotinib, a new study published online ahead of print in the journal The Lancet Oncology has shown.1

“Maintenance therapy has a better safety profile than continuing a full treatment until disease progression in patients with unresectable mCRC, and is not detrimental in terms of overall survival,” Benoist Chibaudel, MD, medical oncologist at Franco-British Hospital in France, and one of the study’s authors, said in an interview with Cancer Therapy Advisor.

“Maintenance regimens used to date are fluoropyrimidines, bevacizumab, and the combination of fluoropyrimidine with bevacizumab. One recent randomized trial has shown that bevacizumab was non-inferior to fluoropyrimidine with bevacizumab,” he said.

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Although the combination of an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor or an anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeted monoclonal antibody, such as bevacizumab and cetuximab, respectively, with chemotherapy has demonstrated clinical activity in patients with mCRC, adding both to chemotherapy has resulted in negative outcomes when used as frontline treatment.

Therefore, researchers sought to evaluate whether the combination of erlotinib, an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, with bevacizumab could improve the efficacy of maintenance therapy in patients with unresectable mCRC.