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Study shows that administering calcium and magnesium effectively reduces neurological sensitivity
Date:5/16/2008

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Researchers in the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) have shown that patients who receive intravenous calcium and magnesium before and after the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin for the treatment of advanced colon cancer experience a significantly reduced incidence and severity of neurological side effects (neurotoxicity). This reduction increases the likelihood that patients are able to complete a full course of treatment. The findings were released May 15 as part of the 44th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

There have been limited studies and anecdotal stories about the effectiveness of calcium plus magnesium in reducing neurotoxicity caused by oxaliplatin, says Daniel Nikcevich, M.D., Ph.D., an oncologist at St. Marys Duluth Clinic in Duluth, Minn., a member of NCCTG and study co-chair.

We designed a double-blind, placebo-controlled study that confirmed the effectiveness of calcium plus magnesium in reducing debilitating neurological sensitivity associated with oxaliplatin, such as pain in the hands, fingers, feet and toes. In the past, these side effects have caused patients to stop treatment and, therefore, not receive critical therapy.

Each year in the United States, 150,000 patients are diagnosed with colon cancer, and approximately 50 percent of those develop advanced colon cancer. Oxaliplatin, in combination with other chemotherapy drugs such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), has emerged as a standard-of-care of first-line therapy for advanced colon cancer. However, oxaliplatin can cause both acute and chronic cumulative sensory neurological problems including pain, numbness and tingling that can prevent patients from completing treatment.

In the study, 50 of the 102 patients enrolled received intravenous calcium and magnesium along with oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy, while 52 patients received oxaliplatin-based adjuvant chemotherapy for colon cancer and an intraven
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Contact: Traci Klein
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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