The QUASAR 2 clinical trial, a multicentre international study of capecitabine +/- bevacizumab as adjuvant treatment of colorectal cancer, was recently published in The Lancet Oncology.
Chemotherapy given after surgery to patients with early-stage bowel cancer improves the disease cure rate. However, despite this the cancer often returns. 5 Fluorouracil (5-FU) has been the standard drug used for many years. It is given to the patient via a tube into the vein as an infusion. Recently a tablet version of 5-FU called capecitabine is being used instead. Newer drugs now exist that directly attack the blood vessels supplying the tumour. One of these is called bevacizumab. Patients with advanced bowel cancers who are treated with a combination of bevacizumab and chemotherapy do better than patients treated with only chemotherapy. QUASAR 2 was an international trial led by the Oxford Clinical Trials Unit (OCTO) in the United Kingdom and recruited patients worldwide. It looked at whether a combination of bevacizumab and capecitabine improves outcomes compared to capecitabine only in patients who have had surgery to remove all of their bowel cancer. This was a randomised trial: one group receiving capecitabine and bevacizumab (experimental arm); the other receiving capecitabine only (standard arm).
“The important clinical trial research the AGITG conducted in collaboration with international groups is demonstrated by the results of the QUASAR 2 trial which has just been published in The Lancet Oncology,” said Associate Professor Eva Segelov, Study Chair. “It is through collaborative efforts in clinical trial research that we will make a difference and increase cure rate by preventing relapse in patients with localised bowel cancer.”