Roche announced today that Xeloda (capecitabine) in combination with oxaliplatin (a combination known as XELOX) has been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) for the adjuvant (post-surgery) treatment of patients with early colon cancer. The approval was based on results from the pivotal NO16968 (XELOXA) study, one of the largest studies of patients with stage III (early) colon cancer, which showed that patients taking XELOX immediately after surgery lived disease-free for longer compared to those treated with chemotherapy regimen 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin (5-FU/LV). The 3 year disease-free survival (DFS) for patients receiving XELOX was superior to the 5-FU/LV arm (71.0% versus 67.0%, HR 0.80, p=0.0045).
“The approval of XELOX for the adjuvant treatment of early colon cancer is great news for patients, who now have the added benefits and convenience of oral Xeloda in combination therapy for this disease, which is potentially curable if diagnosed and treated promptly,” said Pascal Soriot, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Roche Pharmaceutical Division.
Following approval in the European Union, label extensions for XELOX in other regions of the world are expected. Xeloda monotherapy is already approved for use immediately after surgery in patients with colon cancer throughout the world including Europe, the US and Japan.
“I am delighted that XELOX will now be made available to patients with early colon cancer, particularly as it is at this stage of the disease that we have the best chance of curing them,” said Professor Hans-Joachim Schmoll, Martin Luther University Clinic for Internal Medicine IV, Halle, Germany and one of the lead investigators. “Having a range of treatment options means more patients are given the chance to live without their disease returning, potentially enabling them to be cured,” he added.
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer across all tumour types in Europe and is the third most commonly reported cancer in the world.