Cimetidine as an adjuvant treatment in colorectal cancer: A double-blind, randomized pilot study

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Abstract

PURPOSE:

To evaluate the influence of a H2 receptor antagonist (cimetidine) on survival in patients with colorectal carcinoma, a randomized, controlled pilot study was performed in three university hospitals in Copenhagen, Denmark.

METHODS:

A total of 192 patients, who had undergone a resection or an exploratory operation for adenocarcinoma of the colon or rectum between May 1988 and May 1991, were enrolled in the study. After a median observation time of 40 months, outcome was noted for each patient concerning cancer-specific mortality rate.

RESULTS:

In patients operated with curative intent (n=148), no difference was found in cancer-specific mortality between the two treatments. However, a tendency toward reduction in mortality rate was found in patients with curatively operated Dukes Stage C carcinoma (P=0.11, log-rank test; difference, 29 percent; 90 percent confidence interval, 2 to 57 percent) in the cimetidine-treated group. In patients with disseminated disease no total difference was found between the two treatment groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

Cimetidine does not seem to reduce mortality in patients with colorectal cancer, but there seems to be a tendency toward a survival benefit in patients undergoing surgery for Dukes Stage C carcinoma. Results seem to justify trials in this patient catagory to reveal a benefit of H2 receptor antagonists in adjuvant therapy of colorectal carcinoma.

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