Duration of Therapy and Maintenance/Intermittent Chemotherapy in Patients with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

Metastatic colorectal cancer refers to colorectal cancer that has spread to other sites in the body.

Maintenance chemotherapy avoids or slows the cancer's return if the cancer is in complete remission after initial treatment. Maintenance chemotherapy using the drugs bevacizumab or capecitabine may lead to a modest benefit in the amount of time that passes from the first day of treatment to the day on which the disease is found to have worsened.

Bevacizumab prevents the growth of new blood vessels that cancers need to support their growth, thus preventing the growth of cancer cells. Capecitabine is a drug that is converted to the active form of the drug 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) in the body. 5-FU works by interfering with genetic replication of rapidly-dividing cancer cells.

Some cancer cells have proteins on their surface called epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs). EGFR inhibitors are drugs that inhibit the function of these proteins, preventing them from promoting growth of cancer cells. However, there is limited data on the role of EGFR inhibitors in cancer treatment.