Accessibility statement

Gastrointestinal side effects of new anticancer agents for colorectal cancer

Posted on 20 July 2015

The monoclonal antibodies Cetuximab and Panitumumab are widely used internationally as part of the treatment of colorectal carcinoma. Drs Marco Miroddi and Carmelo Sterrantino, Visiting Fellows at CRD from the University of Messina, Italy, completed a systematic review with Dr Bob Phillips and colleagues to explore the likelihood and severity of gastrointestinal side effects from these new anticancer agents.

The meta-analysis demonstrated that diarrhoea was about one-and-a-half times more likely, and mucositis (treatment-induced ulceration of the mouth, oesophagus and bowel) was over three times as common in patients who had received the monoclonal antibodies.

Dr Miroddi commented that “clinicians and patients need to know about likely side effects when choosing a treatment”. For clinicians and researchers, knowing the key adverse effects should lead to prevention and risk reduction strategies to optimise outcomes.