What is the efficacy of combined treatments for gastric cancer?

Updated: May 21, 2019
  • Author: Elwyn C Cabebe, MD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Numerous randomized clinical trials comparing combination chemotherapy in the postoperative setting to surgery alone did not demonstrate a consistent survival benefit.

Meta-analyses have shown a hint of statistical benefit. In one meta-analysis of 13 randomized trials, adjuvant systemic chemotherapy was associated with a significant survival benefit (odds ratio for death, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.66-0.97). In subgroup analysis, there was a trend toward a larger magnitude of effect for trials in which at least two thirds of the patients had node-positive disease. [45]

A study by Bang et al found that adjuvant capecitabine plus oxaliplatin treatment after curative D2 gastrectomy should be considered among patients with operable gastric cancer; however, D2 surgeries are not common in the United States due to morbidity concerns and a lack of level 1 evidence of a survival advantage. [46]

A postoperative chemoradiation study was prompted in part by the patterns of local failure often preceding systemic spread. A randomized phase III study performed in the United States, Intergroup 0116, demonstrated a survival benefit associated with postoperative chemoradiotherapy compared with surgery alone (en bloc resection). [6]

In Intergroup 0116, patients with T3 and/or N+ adenocarcinoma of the stomach or gastroesophageal junction were randomized to receive a bolus of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and leucovorin (LV) and radiotherapy or observation. Patients who received the adjuvant chemoradiotherapy demonstrated improved disease-free survival (from 32% to 49%) and improved overall survival rates (from 41% to 52%) compared to those who were merely observed.

This regimen is considered the standard of care in the United States.

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