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J Natl Cancer Inst. 2008 Mar 19;100(6):388-98. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djn054. Epub 2008 Mar 11.

Adjuvant chemotherapy in completely resected gastric cancer: a randomized phase III trial conducted by GOIRC.

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  • 1Unit of Medical Oncology, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Careggi, Viale Pieraccini 17, 50139 Florence, Italy. dicostanzofrancesco@tiscali.it

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Complete surgical resection of gastric cancer is potentially curative, but long-term survival is poor.

METHODS:

Patients with histologically proven adenocarcinoma of the stomach of stages IB, II, IIIA and B, or IV (T4N2M0) and treated with potentially curative surgery were randomly assigned to follow-up alone or to intravenous treatment with four cycles (repeated every 21 days) of PELF (cisplatin [40 mg/m(2), on days 1 and 5], epirubicin [30 mg/m(2), days 1 and 5], L-leucovorin [100 mg/m(2), days 1-4], and 5-fluorouracil [300 mg/m(2), days 1-4] in a hospital setting. Frequencies and severity of adverse events were determined. Overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were compared between the treatment arms using Kaplan-Meier analysis and a Cox proportional hazards regression model. All statistical tests were two-sided.

RESULTS:

From January 1995 through September 2000, 258 patients were randomly assigned to chemotherapy (n = 130) or surgery alone (n = 128). Patient characteristics were well balanced between the two arms. Among those who received chemotherapy, grade 3 or 4 toxic effects including vomiting, mucositis, and diarrhea were experienced by 21.1%, 8.4%, and 11.8% of patients, respectively. Leucopenia, anemia, and thrombocytopenia of grade 3 or 4 were experienced by 20.3%, 3.3%, and 4.2% of patients, respectively. After a median follow-up of 72.8 months, 128 patients (49.6%) experienced recurrence and 139 (53.9%) deaths were observed, one toxicity-related. Relative to treatment with surgery alone, adjuvant chemotherapy did not increase disease-free survival (hazard ratio [HR] of recurrence = 0.92; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.66 to 1.27) or overall survival (HR of death = 0.90; 95% CI = 0.64 to 1.26).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results failed to provide proof of an effect of adjuvant chemotherapy with PELF on overall survival or disease-free survival. The estimated effect of chemotherapy (10% reduction in the hazard of death or relapse) is modest and consistent with the results of meta-analyses of adjuvant chemotherapy without platinum agents.

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