(HealthDay News) – For patients with previously treated metastatic colorectal cancer who are refractory or intolerant to standard therapies, treatment with a novel oral nucleoside antitumor agent, TAS-102, is tolerable and shows promising efficacy, according to a phase 2 study published online Aug. 28 in The Lancet Oncology.

Takayuki Yoshino, MD, from the National Cancer Center Hospital East in Chiba, Japan, and colleagues assessed the efficacy and safety of TAS-102 for patients with confirmed colorectal adenocarcinoma who had a treatment history of 2 or more regimens of standard chemotherapy and were refractory or intolerant to fluoropyrimidine, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin. A total of 112 patients (aged 20 or older) were randomly assigned to receive TAS-102, and 57 patients were assigned to placebo. Patients were followed for a median of 11.3 months.

The researchers found that the median overall survival was significantly longer in the TAS-102 group compared with the placebo group (9.0 vs 6.6 months; hazard ratio, 0.56). In the safety population, 50% of TAS-102-treated patients had neutropenia of grade 3 or 4, 28% had leukopenia, and 17% had anemia. None of the placebo-treated patients had grade 3 or worse neutropenia or leukopenia; 5% had grade 3 or worse anemia. Serious adverse events occurred in 19% of the TAS-102-treated and 9% of placebo-treated patients. There were no treatment-related deaths.

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“In conclusion, TAS-102 has promising efficacy with a manageable safety profile in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who are refractory or intolerant to standard chemotherapy,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Taiho Pharmaceuticals, which funded the study and manufactures TAS-102.

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