Colorectal Cancer, Metastatic or Recurrent
Chemotherapy is the use of medicines to stop cancer's growth or relieve symptoms. Sometimes chemotherapy may be used to shrink tumors in the liver so they can be removed with surgery.
The medicines may be given through a needle in your vein, as pills you can swallow, or as a shot (injection). For colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver, researchers are studying ways to deliver chemotherapy directly to the liver.
Several medicines are used to treat metastatic or recurrent colorectal cancer. Other medicines are also available to treat side effects, such as nausea.
The most commonly used medicines for the treatment of colorectal cancer are:
- Reference Bevacizumab (Avastin).
- Reference Capecitabine (Xeloda).
- Reference Fluorouracil (5-FU).
- Reference Irinotecan (Camptosar).
- Reference Leucovorin (Fusilev).
- Reference Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin).
Cancer medicines are often used in combination. For example, a treatment called FOLFOX4 uses oxaliplatin, leucovorin, and fluorouracil, while the treatment called FOLFIRI uses folic acid, fluorouracil, and irinotecan. There are several of these specific combinations.
Reference Cetuximab (Erbitux) and Reference panitumumab (Vectibix) may be used for colorectal cancer that has spread and has not improved during or after treatment with other drugs. These kinds of medicines, called Reference monoclonal antibodies Opens New Window, may not work for some people. So before you have this treatment, your tumor tissue will be checked for certain gene changes (mutations).
Your doctor may prescribe Reference medicines to control nausea and vomiting. These medicines include:
- Reference Aprepitant (Emend), which is used in combination with other medicines to prevent nausea and vomiting.
- Reference Metoclopramide (Reglan).
- Reference Phenothiazines, such as promethazine and prochlorperazine.
- Reference Serotonin antagonists, such as ondansetron (Zofran), granisetron (Kytril), or dolasetron (Anzemet). These medicines prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy more effectively when they are combined with Reference corticosteroids, such as dexamethasone.
Reference Clinical trials that test new drugs are ongoing. Talk with your doctor about participating in a clinical trial.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 5, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Kenneth Bark, MD - Surgery, Colon and Rectal