“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”
A trial looking at capecitabine with or without bevacizumab for colorectal cancer (QUASAR 2)
This trial compared capecitabine and bevacizumab with capecitabine alone for bowel (colorectal) cancer. It was for people whose cancer was thought to have a high risk of spreading to another part of the body.
More about this trial
Surgery is a common treatment for bowel cancer. And doctors often treat colorectal cancer with chemotherapy after surgery to help stop the cancer coming back.
Two drugs commonly used are 5FU and capecitabine (Xeloda). Capecitabine is similar to 5FU but is a tablet rather than an injection.
Doctors thought the combination of capecitabine and bevacizumab (Avastin) might be better at stopping the cancer coming back. But they weren’t sure.
Bevacizumab is type of biological therapy called a monoclonal antibody.
In this trial, some people had capecitabine. And some had capecitabine and bevacizumab.
The aim of the trial was to find out which was best at stopping colorectal cancer coming back after surgery. And to find out more about the side effects.
Summary of results
The team found that the combination of bevacizumab and capecitabine wasn’t any better than capecitabine alone.
This phase 3 trial was randomised. 1,952 people took part and were put into 1 of 2 treatment groups:
- 977 had capecitabine
- 975 had capecitabine and bevacizumab
Of these the researchers were able to look at the results of 1,941 people:
- 968 had capecitabine
- 973 had capecitabine and bevacizumab
The team looked at the number of people who were alive and had no sign of cancer 3 years after treatment. They found the number was similar in both groups. It was:
- 712 people in the capecitabine group
- 704 people in the capecitabine and bevacizumab group
The most severe side effects of the combination of capecitabine and bevacizumab were:
- hand and foot syndrome
- high blood pressure
- protein in the urine
- problems with wound healing
The team also looked at substances in blood and tissue samples (
The trial team concluded that combining bevacizumab with capecitabine didn’t benefit people after surgery to remove their cancer. But for a small group of people whose cancer cells have a certain biomarker there might be a benefit. And this would be worth studying further.
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Professor David Kerr
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Oxford
Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group (AGITG)
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKE/02/017.