Cetuximab Less Effective in Simple Tumors

ROCHESTER, Minn., June 11 (UPI) — A U.S. clinical trial has found a drug of benefit to metastatic colon cancer patients fails to help patients with less advanced Stage III tumors.

Mayo Clinic researchers who led the nationwide study of the drug cetuximab said the results are unexpected and puzzling. The scientists said the study even showed that patients who used cetuximab with chemotherapy had outcomes slightly inferior to patients treated with just chemotherapy.

“The sum of data to date from trials for metastatic colorectal cancer suggested that cetuximab would provide benefit in these Stage III patients … and so our findings are unexpected,” said Dr. Steven Alberts, the Mayo Clinic oncologist who led the trial. “It is difficult to understand how an agent that helps patients with metastatic cancer is not beneficial to those with less advanced disease. At this point we are focusing our efforts on identifying a biological explanation for these findings.”

The first public discussion and presentation of the study’s results occurred in Chicago earlier this month during the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

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