(HealthDay News) – The addition of oxaliplatin to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) improves survival for stage III colon cancer patients in diverse practice settings, including among older and minority patients, according to a study published online Jan. 20 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Hanna K. Sanoff, MD, of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and colleagues investigated the benefits of oxaliplatin in 4,060 patients (<75 years of age) with stage III colon cancer, who received chemotherapy within 120 days of surgical resection and were diagnosed during 2004 to 2009. Participants were identified from five observational data sources. Overall survival was compared with pooled data from 8,292 patients enrolled in five randomized controlled trials (RCTs; the Adjuvant Colon Cancer Endpoints group).

The researchers found that the survival advantage associated with the addition of oxaliplatin to adjuvant 5-FU was seen across diverse practice settings, and was similar in the RCTs and all five data sources. In the RCTs, in the largest cohort (the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry linked to Medicare claims), and in the New York State Cancer Registry linked to Medicaid and Medicare claims, there was a statistically significant improvement in three-year overall survival (adjusted hazard ratio of death, 0.8, 0.7, and 0.58, respectively). The association was maintained in older and minority patients as well as in those with higher comorbidity.

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“The addition of oxaliplatin to 5-FU appears to be associated with better survival among patients receiving adjuvant colon cancer treatment in the community,” the authors write.

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