Veliparib and Combination Chemotherapy in Treating Patient With Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer


This randomized phase II trial studies how well veliparib works with combination chemotherapy and radiation therapy in treating patients with colorectal cancer that has spread from where it started to nearby tissue or lymph nodes (locally advanced). Veliparib may stop the growth of tumor cells by blocking some of the enzymes needed for cell growth. Drugs used in chemotherapy, such as modified (m)FOLFOX6 regimen, work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells, by stopping them from dividing, or by stopping them from spreading. Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill tumor cells and shrink tumors. Giving veliparib with combination chemotherapy and radiation therapy may kill more tumor cells and giving it before surgery may make the tumor smaller and reduce the amount of normal tissue that needs to be removed.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • The patient must have signed and dated an Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved consent form that conforms to federal and institutional guidelines
  • Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0, 1, or 2
  • Diagnosis of adenocarcinoma of the rectum with the major portion of the tumor intact; Note: prior to randomization, the investigator must specify and document each of the following:

    • Distance of the lowest tumor margin from the anal verge; and
    • Intent for sphincter sparing or non-sphincter sparing surgical resection according to the primary surgeon; and
    • The majority of the untreated tumor must be < 12 cm from the anal verge or below the peritoneal reflection as determined by the treating surgeon
  • The tumor must be clinically determined to be locally advanced stage II or stage III rectal cancer, and must also meet any ONE of the following criteria:

    • Distal location (as defined by measurement on magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], transrectal ultrasound [ERUS]/pelvic computed tomography [CT] [with IV contrast] scan or palpable on digital rectal examination [DRE]): cT3-4 =< 5 cm from the anal verge, any N
    • Bulky: any cT4 or evidence that the tumor is adjacent to (defined as within 3 mm of) the mesorectal fascia on MRI or ERUS/pelvic CT (with IV contrast) scan
    • High risk for metastatic disease with 4 or more regional lymph nodes (cN2); clinical nodal or "cN" status for eligibility includes the total number of nodes (N2 = 4 or more) in the mesorectal and superior rectal stations measuring >= 1.0 cm in any axis on cross sectional or endoscopic imaging; Note: nodes must measure 1.0 cm or greater to be considered positive for this eligibility requirement
    • Not a candidate for sphincter-sparing surgical resection prior to neoadjuvant therapy (as planned by the primary surgeon)

      • Note: clinical stage of the primary tumor and nodes may be determined locally by rectal endoscopic ultrasound or pelvic MRI (MRI is strongly preferred); CT scan with IV contrast is acceptable provided there is evidence of T4 and/or N2 disease


Chemotherapy, Radiation therapy, colorectal Cancer

Principal Investigator

Thomas J George, M.D.



Contact Information


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