Capecitabine in the management of colorectal cancer.
5-Fluorouracil has been a mainstay in the treatment of colorectal cancer for nearly five decades; however, the use of oral formulations of the medication has been gaining increasing traction since capecitabine was approved for use in adjuvant settings by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2005. The use of capecitabine has since spread to a number of off-label indications, including the treatment of advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer and the neoadjuvant treatment of rectal cancer. In light of increasing utilization, it is critical that clinicians have a firm understanding of the literature supporting capecitabine across various settings as well as the attributes of the drug, such as its dosing recommendations, side-effect profile, and use in the elderly. The purpose of this review is to synthesize the literature in a fashion that can be used to help guide decisions. In a setting of increasing focus on cost, the pharmacoeconomic literature is also briefly reviewed.
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