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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53149. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053149. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

Adjuvant chemotherapy for elderly patients with gastric cancer after D2 gastrectomy.

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State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Guangzhou, China.



A phase III clinical trial has already shown the survival benefits of postoperative chemotherapy in gastric cancer. However, there are limited published data concerning the elderly. This study aims to investigate the use of adjuvant chemotherapy for gastric cancer after D2 gastrectomy among the elderly and identify its impact on survival.


We retrospectively reviewed 360 patients who had undergone D2 gastrectomy, aged 65 years or older, with non-metastatic gastric cancer in a single institution. We analyzed the predictors and survival benefits of adjuvant chemotherapy use in the elderly. Further, we analyzed the survival benefits of adjuvant chemotherapy by dividing the patients into groups according to disease stages and chemotherapeutic regimens.


Among the 360 patients, only 34.7% of patients received adjuvant chemotherapy. Age, tumor location, lymph node involvement and tumor invasion were associated with the receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy. Adjuvant chemotherapy improved the overall survival for non-metastatic elderly patients (HR 0.60, 95%CI 0.42-0.83, P = 0.003). Significant survival benefits were found with adjuvant chemotherapy in stage III patients (HR 0.67, 95%CI 0.47-0.97, P = 0.033), but not in stage I patients or in stage II patients (HR 0.52, 95%CI 0.21-1.30 P = 0.161). Compared to adjuvant chemotherapy without platinum, no significant survival benefits were observed with platinum-containing chemotherapy (HR 0.84, 95%CI 0.49-1.45, P = 0.530). Besides adjuvant chemotherapy, other independent prognostic factors of survival included tumor location, tumor size, histologic grade, depth of tumor invasion, and lymph node status.


This study demonstrated the survival benefits of adjuvant fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy among the elderly patients with non-metastatic gastric cancer after D2 gastrectomy. However, due to the limitations of this study, further well-designed prospective studies with large populations are needed to confirm these findings and identify the patients that can tolerate and benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.

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