Levamisole and 5-fluorouracil therapy for resected colon cancer: A new indication

J. R. Skillings, M. Levine, H. L. Rayner, E. Eisenhauer, C. Erlichman, C. Germond, I. Kerr, W. Lofters, J. Maroun, S. Yoshida

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Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the benefits and risks of postoperative treatment with levamisole plus 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in patients with colon cancer. Design: Computerized searches of MEDLINE and CANCERLIT were performed, and the reference list of each retrieved article was checked. Only randomized trials of therapy with levamisole alone or combined with 5-FU for colon cancer without distant metastases were included. The studies were then evaluated with the use of four criteria. Results: We reviewed six randomized trials, of which three satisfied our criteria. Two studies demonstrated a significant improvement in the survival rate with levamisole plus 5-FU among patients with colon cancer and pathologically confirmed metastases to adjacent lymph nodes (Dukes' stage C). A subgroup analysis in another study demonstrated a similar benefit. The toxic effects of the drugs were generally mild. The three other studies showed no difference in survival rates between the treatment groups; however, the samples were too small to detect a clinically or statistically important difference. Conclusions: Because many patients with colon cancer will suffer a relapse we recommend that they be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials of adjuvant therapy. For those with stage C disease not entering a clinical trial levamisole plus 5-FU is appropriate adjuvant therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-301
Number of pages5
JournalCMAJ
Volume144
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 8 1991

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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Skillings, J. R., Levine, M., Rayner, H. L., Eisenhauer, E., Erlichman, C., Germond, C., Kerr, I., Lofters, W., Maroun, J., & Yoshida, S. (1991). Levamisole and 5-fluorouracil therapy for resected colon cancer: A new indication. CMAJ, 144(3), 297-301.