Cetuximab Combined With Induction Oxaliplatin and Capecitabine, Followed by Neoadjuvant Chemoradiation for Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer: SWOG 0713

Published:October 25, 2017DOI:



      Neoadjuvant chemoradiation (NCRT) is standard treatment for locally advanced rectal cancer. Pathologic complete response (pCR) has associated with improved survival. In modern phase III trials of NCRT, pCR ranges from 10% to 20%. Cetuximab improves response in KRAS (KRAS proto-oncogene) wild type (wt) metastatic colorectal cancer. S0713 was designed to assess improvement in pCR with additional use of cetuximab with induction chemotherapy and NCRT for locally advanced, KRAS-wt rectal cancer.

      Patients and Methods

      Patient eligibility: stage II to III biopsy-proven, KRAS-wt rectal adenocarcinoma; no bowel obstruction; adequate hematologic, hepatic and renal function; performance status of 0 to 2. Target enrollment: 80 patients. Treatment: induction chemotherapy with wCAPOX (weekly capecitabine and oxaliplatin) and cetuximab followed by the same regimen concurrent with radiation (omitting day 15 oxaliplatin). If fewer than 7 pCRs were observed at planned interim analysis after 40 patients received all therapy, the study would close. Eighty eligible patients would provide 90% power given a true pCR rate > 35% at a significance of 0.04. The regimen would lack future interest if pCR probability was ≤ 20%.


      Between February 2009 and April 2013, 83 patients registered. Four were ineligible and 4 not treated, leaving 75 evaluable for clinical outcomes and toxicity, of whom 65 had surgery. Of 75 patients, 20 had pCR (27%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 17%-38%); 19 (25%) had microscopic cancer; 36 (48%) had minor/no response (including 10 without surgery). Three-year disease-free survival was 73% (95% CI, 63%-83%).


      Our trial did not meet the pCR target of 35%. Toxicity was generally acceptable. This regimen cannot be recommended outside the clinical trial setting.


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