This phase II study assessed the safety and efficacy of oxaliplatin and capecitabine in patients with advanced oesophageal cancer. Fifty-one eligible patients received oxaliplatin 130 mg m-2intravenously on day 1 and capecitabine 1000 mg m-2orally twice daily on days 1 to 14 in a 21-day treatment cycle as first-line treatment for advanced oesophageal cancer. Grade 3 neutropenia was seen in one patient and anaemia in another patient. No grade 4 haematological toxicities were observed. Grade 4 non-haematological toxicity (lethargy) occurred in one patient (2%). Grade 3 non-haematological toxicity was seen in 14 (27%) patients (vomiting and polyneuropathy (8%); nausea (6%); lethargy and hand-foot syndrome (4%); and anorexia, diarrhoea, and hyperbilirubinaemia (each in one patient)). In 22% of the patients, toxicity was the reason for stopping the treatment. The overall response rate was 39%. The median overall survival was 8 months; the 1-year survival rate was 26%. In the quality of life (QoL) analysis, the emotional well-being improved during treatment, but the physical functioning scores declined. The fatigue score on the symptom scales increased. Overall, the global QoL score did not change during treatment. In conclusion, the activity of oxaliplatin and capecitabine is comparable with other chemotherapy regimens in advanced oesophageal cancer with a low frequency of grade 3/4 toxicity. Because this treatment can be given on an outpatient basis, it is probably less toxic than cisplatin-based therapy and preserves QoL during treatment, it is a viable treatment option in patients with advanced oesophageal cancer.

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British Journal of Cancer
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Meerten, E., Eskens, F., van Gameren, E. C., Doorn, L., & van der Gaast, A. (2007). First-line treatment with oxaliplatin and capecitabine in patients with advanced or metastatic oesophageal cancer: A phase II study. British Journal of Cancer, 96(9), 1348–1352. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6603750