Perioperative Iron for Colorectal Cancer (PICoC Study) (PICoC)

  • End date
    Feb 11, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust
Updated on 11 July 2022


The PICoC study aims to investigate whether oral ferric maltol given postoperatively offers an improvement in patient and clinician reported outcomes compared to standard care.


Colorectal cancer is associated with iron deficiency anaemia in 40-60% of cases. This anaemia can lead to poorer post-operative outcomes such as higher complication rates, increased length of stay and reduced survival. There has been a recent shift towards the correction of preoperative anaemia in order to optimize perioperative outcomes. However, despite improvements in preoperative haemoglobin there exists a group of patients who develop worsening or recurrent anaemia in the post-operative period. Without intervention up to 90% of patients in the immediate postoperative period may develop anaemia. This is not unexpected given the peri-operative blood loss; poor nutritional intake in the postoperative period; and the frequent blood sampling for laboratory tests. Our data from previous trials has demonstrated that despite preoperative intravenous iron therapy 75% of patients remain anaemic at the time of their colorectal cancer operation. In addition, our unpublished data has found that around 1/3 of patients treated with preoperative iron therapy develop a recurrence of their anaemia in the first year postoperatively. Studies have identified that traditional oral ferrous iron supplementation is largely ineffective for the treatment of postoperative anaemia. However, a newer oral iron preparation - ferric maltol (Ferracru) has been found to be better tolerated and more efficacious than ferrous iron. This study aims to evaluate whether the use of iron supplementation in the form of Feraccru could lead to a more sustained or improved a response in haemoglobin if given after a colorectal cancer operation. Improving this postoperative anaemia may have important implications for clinician and patient reported outcomes. The Perioperative Iron in Colorectal Cancer (PICoC) trial will run as a feasibility study to assess the proposed design, recruitability and outcome measures. Anaemic colorectal cancer patients treated with preoperative intravenous iron will be randomised in an open label design to receive a course of Ferric maltol (intervention group) or standard care (control group) postoperatively. Secondary outcome measures will focus on a comparison of change in blood indices, quality of life, allogenic red blood transfusion rates and postoperative complications between groups. Follow up will continue until the first postoperative outpatient visit at approximately 12 weeks following discharge.

Condition Cancer Colon
Treatment oral ferric maltol
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05177484
SponsorThe Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust
Last Modified on11 July 2022


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Inclusion Criteria

Participant is willing and able to give informed consent for participation in the study
Male or Female, aged 18+ years
Diagnosed with histologically or radiologically diagnosed colorectal adenocarcinoma
Anaemic at point of diagnosis of colorectal adenocarcinoma (Defined as haemoglobin 10g/L below WHO criteria: 120g/L for males and 110g/L for females, to account for a 10% fluctuation in Hb)
Undergoing surgery for colorectal cancer with curative intent
Date of planned surgery is ≥ 14 days from date of planned initiation of recruitment
Able (in the investigators opinion) and willing to comply with all study requirements
Willing to allow his or her General Practitioner and consultant, if appropriate, to be notified of participation in the study

Exclusion Criteria

Patients who do not have a histological diagnosis of colorectal adenocarcinoma
Female participants who are pregnant, lactating or planning a pregnancy during the course of the study
Patients with evidence of iron overload or disturbances in utilisation of iron as stated in the product SPC
Previous gastric, small bowel or colorectal surgery (where ≥50% of stomach or terminal ileum has been resected)
Chemotherapeutic treatment within the last 4 weeks
Known previous anaemia not attributable to colorectal carcinoma (i.e. anaemia in patients with well established, inflammatory disorders)
Known haematological disease
Features necessitating urgent surgery (e.g. obstructive symptoms)
Previous allergy to intravenous or oral iron or related iron products
Patients who are unable to consent
Any other significant disease or disorder which, in the opinion of the Investigator, may either put the participants at risk because of participation in the study, or may influence the result of the study, or the participant's ability to participate in the study
Participants who have participated in another research study involving an investigational product in the past 12 weeks
Confirmed liver or lung metastases
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