Background: To demonstrate the noninferiority of capecitabine plus oxaliplatin (XELOX) versus 5-fluorouracil/folinic acid and oxaliplatin (FOLFOX-4) as second-line therapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer after prior irinotecan-based chemotherapy. Patients and methods: A total of 627 patients were randomly assigned to receive XELOX (n = 313) or FOLFOX-4 (n = 314) following disease progression/recurrence or intolerance to irinotecan-based chemotherapy. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS). Results: PFS for XELOX was noninferior to FOLFOX-4 [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.97; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.83-1.14] in the intention-to-treat (ITT) population. Median PFS was 4.7 months with XELOX versus 4.8 months with FOLFOX-4. The robustness of the primary analysis was supported by multivariate and subgroup analyses. Median overall survival in the ITT population was 11.9 months with XELOX versus 12.5 months with FOLFOX-4 (HR = 1.02; 95% CI 0.86-1.21). Treatment-related grade 3/4 adverse events occurred in 50% of XELOX- and 65% of FOLFOX-4-treated patients. Whereas grade 3/4 neutropenia (35% versus 5% with XELOX) and febrile neutropenia (4% versus < 1%) were more common with FOLFOX-4, grade 3/4 diarrhea (19% versus 5% with FOLFOX-4) and grade 3 hand-foot syndrome (4% versus < 1%) were more common with XELOX. Conclusion: XELOX is noninferior to FOLFOX-4 when administered as second-line treatment in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.
- 5-fluorouracil/folinic acid
- Metastatic colorectal cancer