The XELAVIRI study compared application of fluoropyrimidine (FP) and bevacizumab (Bev) followed by sequential escalation to irinotecan (Iri), FP and Bev (arm A) to upfront combination therapy with FP, Iri and Bev (arm B) in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). To elucidate the impact of age on survival, we evaluated efficacy and early mortality in the underlying trial.
Patients were stratified for age in three cohorts (<65 years, 65-74 years and ≥75 years). Survival end-points were expressed by the Kaplan-Meier method and compared by log-rank testing and Cox regression. Objective response and 60-day mortality were evaluated by chi-square testing.
The efficacy analyses suggest more substantial benefit from upfront combination chemotherapy in younger patients with mCRC. Elderly patients (≥75 years) derived limited benefit from upfront combination chemotherapy, particularly in terms of overall survival. Of 421 randomised patients, 13 patients (3.1%) died within 60 days after treatment initiation with the highest prevalence in elderly patients (1.6% < 65 years, 2.8% 65-74 years and 5.2% ≥ 75 years, p = 0.26). The frequency of 60-day mortality was significantly associated with age (with a maximum of 8.7% in patients aged ≥75 years) in patients undergoing upfront combination therapy (p = 0.027) but not in patients receiving sequential treatment (p = 0.63).
Combination therapy with FP, Iri and Bev does not substantially improve the outcome of patients aged ≥75 years as compared with sequential treatment algorithm. These patients appear to be at a relevant risk for 60-day mortality under Iri-based combination chemotherapy plus Bev.
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