Cancer Research UK-backed trial finds chemotherapy before surgery reduces risk of colon cancer recurrence

Colon cancer patients can significantly reduce their risk of cancer returning by receiving chemotherapy before surgery, according to a clinical trial funded by Cancer Research UK. The FOxTROT trial, led by scientists from the University of Birmingham and the University of Leeds, involved 1,053 colon cancer patients from 85 hospitals in the UK, Denmark, and Sweden. The trial found that providing patients with six weeks of chemotherapy before surgery reduced their risk of the disease returning within two years by 28%.

The 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 received standard treatment of surgery first followed by 24 weeks of chemotherapy. Researchers found that patients who had chemotherapy before surgery were less likely to see their cancer return than those who received all their chemotherapy after surgery.

This study’s findings suggest that delivering chemotherapy before surgery could prevent cancer recurrence without the need for costly new drugs or technologies. The treatment is also beneficial for elderly patients, as it increases their chances of receiving timely treatment. According to Dr. Sundeep Saluja, Professor of Surgical Gastroenterology at GB Pant Hospital, New Delhi, “scaling up this treatment worldwide, including in low and middle-income countries, could transform cancer care and save many thousands of lives.”

The FOxTROT trial’s results have been encouraging, indicating that giving chemotherapy to bowel cancer patients before surgery may be a cost-effective way of treating the disease and may save thousands of lives.

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