Bevacizumab plus capecitabine versus capecitabine alone in elderly patients with previously untreated metastatic colorectal cancer (AVEX): an open-label, randomised phase 3 trial

Background

Elderly patients are often under-represented in clinical trials of metastatic colorectal cancer. We aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of bevacizumab plus capecitabine compared with capecitabine alone in elderly patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

Methods

For this open-label, randomised phase 3 trial, patients aged 70 years and older with previously untreated, unresectable, metastatic colorectal cancer, who were not deemed to be candidates for oxaliplatin-based or irinotecan-based chemotherapy regimens, were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio via an interactive voice-response system, stratified by performance status and geographical region. Treatment consisted of capecitabine (1000 mg/m 2 orally twice a day on days 1—14) alone or with bevacizumab (7·5 mg/kg intravenously on day 1), given every 3 weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxic effects, or withdrawal of consent. Efficacy analyses were based on the intention-to-treat population. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT00484939 .

Findings

From July 9, 2007, to Dec 14, 2010, 280 patients with a median age of 76 years (range 70—87) were recruited from 40 sites across ten countries. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either bevacizumab plus capecitabine (n=140) or capecitabine only (n=140). Progression-free survival was significantly longer with bevacizumab and capecitabine than with capecitabine alone (median 9·1 months [95% CI 7·3—11·4] vs 5·1 months [4·2—6·3]; hazard ratio 0·53 [0·41—0·69]; p<0·0001). Treatment-related adverse events of grade 3 or worse occurred in 53 (40%) patients in the combination group and 30 (22%) in the capecitabine group, and treatment-related serious adverse events in 19 (14%) and 11 (8%) patients. The most common grade 3 or worse adverse events of special interest for bevacizumab or chemotherapy were hand-foot syndrome (21 [16%] vs nine [7%]), diarrhoea (nine [7%] vs nine [7%]), and venous thromboembolic events (11 [8%] vs six [4%]). Treatment-related deaths occurred in five patients in the combination group and four in the capecitabine group. The most common any-grade adverse event of special interest for bevacizumab was haemorrhage (34 [25%] vs nine [7%]).

Interpretation

The combination of bevacizumab and capecitabine is an effective and well-tolerated regimen for elderly patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

Funding

F Hoffmann-La Roche.

Source

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