This year, more than 145,000 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. Colorectal cancer, which is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the country, is a disease in which malignant cells form in the colon or rectum. Unfortunately, colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates have only moderately decreased or remained level over the past decade, and according to the American Cancer Society, more than 56,000 will succumb to the disease this year.
Important research is underway with the goal of improving treatment options for patients with colorectal cancer. There is a clinical trial being conducted around the country to investigate a potential new colorectal cancer treatment. The study, known as PACCE (Panitumumab Advanced Colorectal Cancer Evaluation), is a Phase 3 clinical trial designed to evaluate the effects of using two targeted cancer therapies in combination with chemotherapy for patients with colorectal cancer that has spread.
Across the country, institutions are currently enrolling patients in the PACCE trial, and there may be a trial site in your area. The treatments used in the study are chemotherapy, which kills cancer cells; a medication called bevacizumab, approved to stop the growth of blood vessels to the tumor; and panitumumab, an experimental treatment that is being investigated to see if it will help stop the tumor from growing. Patients who participate in the trial are treated either with chemotherapy and bevacizumab, or with panitumumab in addition to chemotherapy and bevacizumab.