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J Clin Oncol. 2002 Apr 15;20(8):1996-2004.

Prospective randomized trial comparing mitomycin, cisplatin, and protracted venous-infusion fluorouracil (PVI 5-FU) With epirubicin, cisplatin, and PVI 5-FU in advanced esophagogastric cancer.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Gastrointestinal Unit, Royal Marsden Hospital, London and Sutton, Surrey, United Kingdom.



We report the results of a prospectively randomized study that compared the combination of epirubicin, cisplatin, and protracted venous-infusion fluorouracil (PVI 5-FU) (ECF) with the combination of mitomycin, cisplatin, and PVI 5-FU (MCF) in previously untreated patients with advanced esophagogastric cancer.


Five hundred eighty patients with adenocarcinoma, squamous carcinoma, or undifferentiated carcinoma were randomized to receive either ECF (epirubicin 50 mg/m(2) every 3 weeks, cisplatin 60 mg/m(2) every 3 weeks and PVI 5-FU 200 mg/m(2)/d) or MCF (mitomycin 7 mg/m(2) every 6 weeks, cisplatin 60 mg/m(2) every 3 weeks, and PVI 5-FU 300 mg/m(2)/d) and analyzed for survival, response, toxicity, and quality of life (QOL).


The overall response rate was 42.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 37% to 48%) with ECF and 44.1% (95% CI, 38% to 50%) with MCF (P =.692). Toxicity was tolerable, and there were only two toxic deaths. ECF resulted in more grade 3/4 neutropenia and grade 2 alopecia, but MCF caused more thrombocytopenia and plantar-palmar erythema. Median survival was 9.4 months with ECF and 8.7 months with MCF (P =.315); at 1 year, 40.2% (95% CI, 34% to 46%) of ECF and 32.7% (95% CI, 27% to 38%) of MCF patients were alive. Median failure-free survival was 7 months with both regimens. Global QOL scores were better with ECF at 3 and 6 months.


This study confirms response, survival, and QOL benefits of ECF observed in a previous randomized study. The equivalent efficacy of MCF was demonstrated, but QOL was superior with ECF. ECF remains one of the reference treatments for advanced esophagogastric cancer.

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