Combination chemotherapy (CT) has, in some groups of patients with gastric cancer (GC), who are at a high risk for relapse, resulted in a small but measurable improvement in palliation and patient survival not reaching statistical significance and therefore remaining applicable in an investigational setting. Based on the above data, we studied adjuvant CT with FEM (5-fluorouracil (5-FU), epirubicin, mitomycin C) in a randomized study of patients with completely resected stage III GC and patients with stages T1–3
with a low histologic grade. CT was started 2–3 weeks after surgery. From August 1988 until February 1994, 84 patients with completely resected tumors and lymph nodes were randomized to either group A (FEM) or group B (no treatment). Patients were eligible for randomization if they had a Karnofsky score > 60, no postoperative evidence of residual tumor, and normal cardiac, hepatic and renal functions. Forty-two patients were randomized to each group, with no significant differences regarding: age distribution, group A 53 years (41–65), group B 57 years (35–66); sex, group A 32/10, group B 25/17 (men/women); site of primary tumor, group A 22/20, group B 25/ 17 (pylorus/antrum); histologic grade, group A 0/19/23, group B 0/ 25/17 (grades I/II/III); lymph node metastases, group A 30, group B 32, and surgical procedure, group A 33/9/6, group B 35/7/9 (total gastrectomy/partial gastrectomy/splenectomy). Group A received 5-FU 600 mg/m2
/day i.v. on days 1, 8, 29 and 36, epirubicin 45 mg/m2
/day i.v. on days 1 and 29, and mitomycin C 10 mg/m2
i.v. on day 1. The schedule was repeated every 56 days for 3 cycles. Group B received no treatment odd was only subjected to the regular follow-up. At the last follow-up at 66 months, 27/42 patients in group A (64%) had relapsed or died, compared to 34/42 patients in group B (81 %). The differences in the relapse and the disease-free and the overall survival rates were not statistically significant. Only the subgroup of patients with histologic grade III tumors receiving adjuvant FEM demonstrated a trend towards improved survival (p = 0.085). Main therapy-related toxicities for the treatment group were grade I–II anemia, neutropenia, and throbocytopenia in 16, 45, and 22% of patients, respectively, and grade I–II nausea and vomiting in 29% of patients. Based on the present findings and those of previous studies, even if one considers the difference reaching statistical significance in the latter for histologic grade III tumors, it becomes evident that with current therapeutic modalities adjuvant therapy has no established role in the management of resectable GC. Studies of new-generation regimens, such as FAMTX (5-FU, Adriamycin and methotrexate) as well as ELF (etoposide, Leucover-in, and 5-FU), should be conducted in the adjuvant therapy setting with a nontherapy control group, in order to clarify the issue of adjuvant CT in resectable GC.
N. Tsavaris, Department of Pathophysiology, School of Medicine, University of Athens, GR–Athens 115 27 (Greece)
Published online: September 11, 2009
Number of Print Pages : 7
Chemotherapy (International Journal of Experimental and Clinical Chemotherapy)
Vol. 42, No. 3, Year 1996 (Cover Date: 1996)
Journal Editor: Sörgel F. (Nürnberg-Heroldsberg)
ISSN: 0009-3157 (Print), eISSN: 1421-9794 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/CHE
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