Oxaliplatin: A Review of its Pharmacological Properties and Clinical Efficacy in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer and its Potential in Other Malignancies

Culy, C.R.; Clemett, D.; Wiseman, L.R.
October 2000
Drugs;Oct2000, Vol. 60 Issue 4, p895
Academic Journal
Oxaliplatin is a platinum compound that inhibits DNA synthesis, primarily by causing intrastrand cross-links in DNA. Oxaliplatin has a broad spectrum of antineoplastic activity and has demonstrated a lack of cross-resistance with other platinum compounds. In patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, intravenous oxaliplatin has been trialled as a monotherapy and in combination with other agents. The highest response rates were achieved when oxaliplatin was used in combination with fluorouracil/folinic acid (leucovorin; calcium folinate), typically ≥50% in the first-line setting and 13 to 45% as a second-line therapy. First-line triple therapy with oxaliplatin and fluorouracil/folinic acid achieved significantly higher response rates and longer median progression-free survival than fluorouracil/folinic acid therapy alone. However, no significant difference in the median duration of overall survival was found. This may be a consequence of the subsequent use of oxaliplatin and/or surgery after disease progression in patients who relapsed after fluorouracil/folinic acid therapy alone. Neoadjuvant therapy with oxaliplatin/fluorouracil/folinic acid has proven beneficial in enabling surgical removal of previously unresectable liver metastases. In 2 studies, surgery with curative intent was performed in 16 and 51% of patients with initially unresectable liver metastases following oxaliplatin/ fluorouracil/folinic acid therapy; the 5-year survival rates were 40 and 50%, respectively. In patients with advanced ovarian cancer, first-line therapy with oxaliplatin/ cyclophosphamide achieved an objective response rate which did not differ significantly from that of cisplatin/cyclophosphamide (33 vs 42%). In addition, oxaliplatin has shown efficacy in patients with platinum-pretreated ovarian cancer and achieved objective response rates similar to paclitaxel in this setting (16 vs 17%). Promising results have also been found with oxaliplatin in patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast cancer, mesothelioma and non-small cell lung cancer. Reversible, cumulative, peripheral sensory neuropathy is the principle dose-limiting factor of oxaliplatin therapy. Haematological and gastrointestinal toxicities occur frequently but are generally mild to moderate in intensity. Conclusion: Oxaliplatin in combination with fluorouracil/folinic acid is an effective treatment option for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, both as a first-line therapy and in patients refractory to previous chemotherapy. Although preliminary results failed to show any overall survival advantage of this regimen over fluorouracil/folinic acid alone, this may be a consequence of trial design and requires further examination. Additional clinical investigation of oxaliplatin in patients with other cancers is warranted given the promising results achieved in early trials, most notably in patients with platinum-pretreated ovarian cancer.


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