Combination chemotherapy with oxaliplatin plus 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin (FOLFOX) or irinotecan plus 5-fluo- rouracil/leucovorin (FOLFIRI) has become a standard regimen for advanced or recurrent colorectal cancer. Numerous studies have reported that long-term use of FOLFOX or FOLFIRI leads to better survival for these patients. Thus, control of the toxicity of these drugs may be crucial to prolonging survival. Fucoidan is one of the major sulfated polysaccharides of brown seaweeds and exhibits a wide range of biological activities. In the present study, we analyzed the effect of fucoidan on suppressing the toxicity of anti-cancer drugs. A total of 20 patients with unresectable advanced or recurrent colorectal cancer scheduled to undergo treatment with FOLFOX or FOLFIRI were randomly allocated into a fucoidan treatment group (n=10) and a control group without fucoidan treatment (n=10). Results showed that fucoidan regulated the occurrence of fatigue during chemotherapy. Chemotherapy with fucoidan was continued for a longer period than chemotherapy without fucoidan. Additionally, the survival of patients with fucoidan treatment was longer than that of patients without fucoidan, although the difference was not significant. Thus, fucoidan may enable the continuous administration of chemotherapeutic drugs for patients with unresectable advanced or recurrent colorectal cancer, and as a result, the prognosis of such patients is prolonged.
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