Int J Med Sci 2018; 15(7):659-665. doi:10.7150/ijms.24453 This issue


New Trends in the Therapeutic Approach to Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

Julia Sánchez-Gundín1,2, Ana María Fernández-Carballido2,3, Lidia Martínez-Valdivieso1, Dolores Barreda-Hernández1, Ana Isabel Torres-Suárez2,3✉

1. Hospital Pharmacist. Hospital Pharmacy Department. Virgen de la Luz Hospital, Hermandad de Donantes de Sangre, s/n, 16002 Cuenca (Spain).
2. Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology. Complutense University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid (Spain).
3. Institute of Industrial Pharmacy. Complutense University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid (Spain).

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Sánchez-Gundín J, Fernández-Carballido AM, Martínez-Valdivieso L, Barreda-Hernández D, Torres-Suárez AI. New Trends in the Therapeutic Approach to Metastatic Colorectal Cancer. Int J Med Sci 2018; 15(7):659-665. doi:10.7150/ijms.24453. Available from

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Important developments in chemotherapy for metastatic colorectal cancer over the last years are reviewed, with an emphasis on the most recently published data from clinical trials. The systematic review of current literature was conducted involving Pubmed Central® research and full articles were obtained and analyzed when appropriate.

Fluorouracil still constitutes the backbone of metastatic colorectal cancer treatment; fluorouracil combination plus either irinotecan (FOLFIRI), oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) or capecitabine (CAPOX or XELOX) are chemotherapy protocols established as treatments producing similar outcomes.

Actual treatment involves these chemotherapy protocols in combination with new molecular targeted drugs: bevacizumab and aflibercept (anti-vascular endothelial growth factor monoclonal antibody) and cetuximab and panitumumab (anti-epidermal growth factor receptor monoclonal antibody for patients with wild type KRAS) which confer significant survival benefits in select patients as first- or second-line therapies. The factors affecting the decisions for one treatment over other are related to the patient and toxicity drug.

Finally, metastatic colorectal cancer patients progressing after all standard therapies (maintaining a good ECOG performance status) could be candidates for further therapies such as regorafenib and TAS-102.

Regarding the future, promising therapies are under development for the metastatic colorectal cancer treatment and several agents are currently being evaluated in different clinical trials.

Keywords: colorectal cancer, metastasis, targeted molecular therapies, chemotherapy