Capecitabine/irinotecan combination regimens in colorectal cancer.
Capecitabine (Xeloda) and irinotecan (CPT-11, Camptosar) both have demonstrated single-agent activity in patients with colorectal cancer. In an analysis of pooled results of two phase III studies, capecitabine provided advantages over intravenous fluorouracil (5-FU) plus leucovorin in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. In another analysis, metastatic colorectal cancer patients who received irinotecan along with 5-FU plus leucovorin had significantly improved overall survival as compared with those who received 5-FU plus leucovorin alone. Capecitabine and irinotecan have distinct mechanisms of action and only partially overlapping toxicities. Combinations of these agents therefore are being explored in patients with colorectal cancer. This report briefly reviews current and ongoing trials evaluating capecitabine/irinotecan combination regimens in treating this disease.