A Cancer Research UK-funded trial has found that giving colon cancer patients chemotherapy before surgery can significantly reduce the risk of cancer returning. The FOxTROT trial was conducted by the University of Birmingham and the University of Leeds and involved 1,053 colon cancer patients from 85 hospitals in the UK, Denmark, and Sweden. The trial revealed that administering six weeks of chemotherapy before surgery can reduce the risk of cancer recurrence within two years by 28%.
The FOxTROT trial divided colon cancer patients into two groups. The first group received six weeks of chemotherapy before surgery, followed by 18 weeks of chemotherapy after surgery, while the second group had standard treatment, which was surgery first, followed by 24 weeks of chemotherapy. Researchers found that patients who had chemotherapy before surgery were less likely to see their cancer come back than those who got all their chemotherapy after surgery.
Chemotherapy before surgery is a treatment that could be easily adopted by healthcare systems across the world. At least 5,000 colon cancer patients in the UK and hundreds of thousands of patients globally could benefit from this treatment every year. Dr. Amrit Pipapra, Consultant and Colorectal Surgeon at Tata Medical Centre Kolkata, said, “Thanks to funding from Cancer Research UK, doctors in countries around the world will now be able to put these findings into clinical practice, saving many thousands of lives.”
The FOxTROT trial’s results have been encouraging, indicating that administering chemotherapy before surgery is a cost-effective way of treating colon cancer and may save many lives. The findings could transform cancer care worldwide, including in low- and middle-income countries, where cancer treatments can be prohibitively expensive.