This was the first research project using the FOxTROT approach of providing some chemotherapy before surgery. This international research was completed in 2019. A group of 698 patients with Stage 2 or 3 bowel cancer received 6 weeks of the anti-cancer (chemotherapy) medicine before surgery to remove their tumour. They then received between 6 and 18 weeks of chemotherapy after surgery, (depending on their post-surgery assessment).
A second group of 354 patients received the standard treatment of surgery followed by 24 weeks of chemotherapy. The same chemotherapy medicines were used in both groups.
The medical outcomes from the total of 1,052 patients who participated in this project (from the UK, Sweden and Denmark) were then analysed and the two groups of patients compared.
The research found that for the first group of 698 patients (compared with those receiving the standard treatment):
- Receiving the chemotherapy before surgery was safe for patients
- Fewer serious complications arose following the surgery
- For most patients the chemotherapy shrank their tumour making surgery less complex
- The cancer came back in fewer patients – 4 fewer in every hundred patients taking part in the research when compared with patients receiving standard treatment (as measured after 2 years)