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Efficacy of the Oral Fluorouracil Pro-drug Capecitabine in Cancer Treatment: a Review

Author(s): Georgios V. Koukourakis | Vassilios Kouloulias | Michael J. Koukourakis | Georgios A. Zacharias | Haralabos Zabatis | John Kouvaris

Journal: Molecules
ISSN 1420-3049

Volume: 13;
Issue: 8;
Start page: 1897;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Capecitabine | Xeloda | cancer treatment

Abstract: Capecitabine (Xeloda®) was developed as a pro-drug of fluorouracil (FU), with the aim of improving tolerability and intratumor drug concentrations through its tumorspecific conversion to the active drug. The purpose of this paper is to review the available information on capecitabine, focusing on its clinical effectiveness against various carcinomas. Identification of all eligible English trails was made by searching the PubMed and Cochrane databases from 1980 to 2007. Search terms included capecitabine, Xeloda and cancer treatment. Nowadays, FDA has approved the use of capecitabine as a first line therapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer when single-agent fluoropyrimidine is preferred. The drug is also approved for use as a single agent in metastatic breast cancer patients who are resistant to both anthracycline and paclitaxel-based regimens or when further anthracycline treatment is contraindicated. It is also approved in combination with docetaxel after failure of prior anthracycline-based chemotherapy. In patients with prostate, pancreatic, renal cell and ovarian carcinomas, capecitabine as a single-agent or in combination with other drugs has also shown benefits. Improved tolerability and comparable efficacy, compared with the intravenous FU/LV combination, in addition to its oral administration, make capecitabine an attractive option for the treatment of several types of carcinomas.
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