Elderly patients with advanced colorectal cancer may soon have milder effective treatment options available to them, as a result of research being done in the MONARCC trial.
Colorectal cancer is most commonly found in patients over 50, and the average age of diagnosis is 70. All patients with advanced bowel cancer are currently treated with a combination of chemotherapy and an antibody treatment. However, previous trials that have studied the effects of this treatment have examined a young, fit and healthy population. This does not represent the typical patient population. Elderly cancer patients may not be able to withstand this treatment in the same way, or might wish to have different options available.
In the MONARCC trial, researchers are studying the potential of using a ‘lighter’ chemotherapy regimen, 5 flurouracil, together with the antibody treatment panitumumab. They will also test the effectiveness of using panitumumab by itself. These options could provide effective cancer control while minimising side effects.
The Principal Investigator of the MONARCC trial, Dr Matthew Burge, believes that it will be instrumental in providing “a treatment option for elderly patients that is well-tolerated, that’s convenient, and that provides them with the best outcomes in terms of survival and quality of life”.
MONARCC is open and has recruited its first patient. More information is available here.