5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) plus leucovorin (LV) has been the mainstay of treatment for colorectal cancer (CRC), with infused schedules more widely adopted in Europe and bolus schedules preferred in North America. However, the effective, oral fluoropyrimidine capecitabine is increasingly replacing intravenous (IV) 5-FU/LV on both sides of the Atlantic. Capecitabine generates 5-FU preferentially in tumor and is a well-established, first-line treatment for metastatic CRC. In this setting, capecitabine achieves a superior response rate, at least equivalent time to disease progression (TTP) and overall survival, and favorable safety compared with bolus 5-FU/LV. The benefits of capecitabine have been transfered into the adjuvant setting. Recent data from a large, international, randomized trial (Xeloda Adjuvant Chemotherapy Trial [X-ACT]) confirm that capecitabine (Xeloda, Roche Laboratories, Nutley, NJ) achieves favorable safety versus 5-FU/LV (Mayo Clinic regimen) and is at least as effective as IV 5-FU/LV in the adjuvant treatment of patients with resected stage III colon cancer. Capecitabine is also an effective and well-tolerated combination partner for oxaliplatin (XELOX) and irinotecan (XELIRI), achieving high efficacy with a good safety profile. An extensive phase III clinical trial program is further establishing the potential of the simplified capecitabine combinations to improve outcomes and unify treatment practices in the metastatic and adjuvant settings. New combinations with novel agents such as capecitabine/oxaliplatin plus erlotinib or bevacizumab are currently under investigation. Capecitabine has also shown promising activity and good tolerability in combination with radiotherapy in rectal cancer.