NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Colon Cancer, Version 1.2017
Chemotherapy, or “chemo,” includes drugs that
disrupt the life cycle of cancer cells. The types of
chemotherapy differ in the way they work. Some kill
cancer cells by damaging their DNA or by disrupting
the making of DNA. Others interfere with cell parts
that are needed for making new cells. Thus, no new
cells are made to replace dying cells. Chemotherapy
can affect both cancer and normal cells.
Some chemotherapy drugs work when cells are in
an active growth phase.
See Figure 10.
active growth phase, cells grow and divide to form
a new cell. Chemotherapy that disrupts the growth
phase works well for cancer cells that are growing
and dividing quickly. Other chemotherapy drugs work
in any growth or resting phase.
What to expect
Chemotherapy regimens used for colon cancer
are listed in
. Sometimes, only one
drug is used. Other times, more than one drug is
used because drugs differ in the way they work.
A combination regimen is the use of two or more
Most chemotherapy drugs for colon cancer are
liquids that are injected into your body. They are
almost always injected into a vein within your arm. A
slow injection is called an infusion. Bolus injections
are fast. Only capecitabine and trifluridine/tipiracil are
in pill form.
Chemotherapy will enter your bloodstream. Once in
the bloodstream, it can travel throughout your body
to treat cancer. Doctors use the term “systemic”
when talking about a cancer treatment for the whole
Chemotherapy received by HAI (
nfusion) differs. Chemotherapy is given through a
port or pump within the artery supplying blood to the
liver. If a pump is used, it is placed within the artery
Overview of cancer treatments
Chemotherapy and the cell cycle
A cell goes through many changes to divide into two cells. Science has grouped these changes
into 7 main phases. There may be another phase of rest, too. Some chemotherapy drugs work in
any phase. Other chemotherapy drugs work in one or two growth phases.
Copyright © 2017 National Comprehensive Cancer Network
Chemotherapy may work in some or all phases of cell division.