Recently, interesting news has been published regarding colon cancer treatments. On August 3, 2012, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration approved ziv-aflibercept injection (Zaltrap, Sanofi U.S., Inc.) for use in combination with 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, irinotecan (FOLFIRI) for the treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) that is resistant to, or has progressed following an oxaliplatin‑containing regimen. The FDA found a statistically significant improvement in survival rates, and this is very encouraging to those fighting the disease.
Also released this summer were results from the National Human Genome Research Institute and National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Genome Atlas Project. According to the study, 224 tumor samples were tested, which made it the largest sampling conducted by any group. “We found varieties of different types of genetic changes, and each of those changes point out to possibly a different type of approach that you could take,” explained Dr. Raju Kucherlapati, head researcher.
The researchers also found similarities in the genetic makeup of different types of cancer. “Today, rectal cancer is treated somewhat differently than colon cancer,” Kucherlapati noted, “but the study found that the two cancers are actually very similar to each other. Furthermore, drugs that have been used for breast cancer may be effective in 5 percent of colon cancer patients, too, due to a genetic similarity. It’s a great opportunity to change the therapeutic agents for this cancer.”
Progress is being made at research centers and by the FDA, which is very encouraging news. The future is looking brighter for colon cancer patients, there are many cancer varieties with a lot less progress taking place when it comes to research.