Adjuvant systemic chemotherapy for stages II and III colon cancer after complete resection: a clinical practice guideline

B.M. Meyers, R. Cosby, F. Quereshy, D. Jonker



Updated practice guidelines on adjuvant chemotherapy for completely resected colon cancer are lacking. In 2008, Cancer Care Ontario’s Program in Evidence-Based Care developed a guideline on adjuvant therapy for stages ii and iii colon cancer. With newer regimens being assessed in this patient population and older agents being either abandoned because of non-effectiveness or replaced by agents that are more efficacious, a full update of the original guideline was undertaken.


Literature searches (January 1987 to August 2015) of medline, embase, and the Cochrane Library were conducted; in addition, abstracts from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the European Society for Medical Oncology, and the European Cancer Congress were reviewed (the latter for January 2007 to August 2015). A practice guideline was drafted that was then scrutinized by internal and external reviewers whose comments were incorporated into the final guideline.


Twenty-six unique reports of eighteen randomized controlled trials and thirteen unique reports of twelve meta-analyses or pooled analyses were included in the evidence base. The 5 recommendations developed included 3 for stage ii colon cancer and 2 for stage iii colon cancer.


Patients with completely resected stage iii colon cancer should be offered adjuvant 5-fluorouracil (5fu)–based chemotherapy with or without oxaliplatin (based on definitive data for improvements in survival and disease-free survival). Patients with resected stage ii colon cancer without “high-risk” features should not receive adjuvant chemotherapy. For patients with “high-risk” features, 5fu-based chemotherapy with or without oxaliplatin should be offered, although no clinical trials have been conducted to conclusively demonstrate the same benefits seen in stage iii colon cancer.


Adjuvant treatment; chemotherapy; colon cancer; practice guidelines

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)