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J Clin Oncol. 1985 Mar;3(3):373-8.

Treatment of locally unresectable cancer of the stomach and pancreas: a randomized comparison of 5-fluorouracil alone with radiation plus concurrent and maintenance 5-fluorouracil--an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group study.


One hundred ninety-one patients with pathologically confirmed, locally unresectable adenocarcinoma of the stomach (57 patients) and pancreas (91 patients), were randomly allocated to therapy with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) alone, 600 mg/m2 intravenously (IV) once weekly, or radiation therapy, 4,000 rad, plus adjuvant 5-FU, 600 mg/m2 IV, the first three days of radiotherapy, then follow-up maintenance 5-FU, 600 mg/m2, weekly. Forty-three patients (22%) could not be analyzed because of ineligibility or cancellation, thus 148 patients were evaluable. The median survival time was similar for both treatment programs and for both types of primary carcinoma, and was as follows: gastric primary carcinoma, 5-FU, 9.3 months; 5-FU plus radiotherapy, 8.2 months; pancreatic primary carcinoma, 5-FU, 8.2 months; 5-FU plus radiotherapy, 8.3 months. Substantially more toxicity was experienced by patients treated with the combined modality arm than by those patients receiving 5-FU alone. Severe or worse toxicity experienced by patients with gastric primary carcinoma treated by 5-FU was 19%, and the combined modality arm was 31%. The toxicity experienced by patients with pancreatic primary carcinoma treated with 5-FU was 27%, and the combined modality arm was 51%. Significant prognostic variables included: weight loss in stomach-cancer patients; and performance status, degree of anaplasia, and reduced appetite in pancreas-cancer patients.

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