Combination Therapy Reduces Colon Cancer Risk

Sulindac and erlotinib effectively reduced the total duodenal polyps in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis.

A combination drug therapy was found to reduce polyps in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), who are more susceptible to developing colorectal cancer.

A study published in JAMA enrolled 92 patients with FAP. Patients were randomly assigned to receive both sulindac twice daily and erlotinib daily (n=46) or placebo (n=46) for 6 months.

The results of the study showed that the combination of sulindac and erlotinib were able to effectively reduce the total duodenal polyps and the polyp number in participants compared with placebo. The effect was most significant after 6 months of therapy.

Adverse events were graded 1 and 2 in severity and were more common in the sulindac-erlotinib group.

Eighty-seven percent of patients who received treatment developed an acne-like rash and 20% in the placebo group. Researchers believe that these adverse events could limit the use of sulindac and erlotinib.

“Further research is necessary to evaluate these preliminary findings in a larger study population with longer follow-up to determine whether the observed effects will result in improved clinical outcomes,” the authors wrote.