Chemotherapy of advanced gastric cancer

Cancer Treat Rev. 2007 Jun;33(4):315-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2007.01.004. Epub 2007 Mar 21.


Gastric cancer is the second most frequent cancer in the world. Approximately 84% of patients with gastric cancer will have advanced disease and median survival of these patients without chemotherapy is only 3-4 months. "Classical" chemotherapy regimens, mainly CF (cisplatin plus infusional 5FU) and ECF (cisplatin plus infusional 5FU plus Epirubicin) obtain responses in 20-40% of the patients and improve quality of life. Nevertheless, duration of these responses is short with very few complete responses. Median time to tumor progression (TTP) with these regimens is only about 4-5 months and median survival does not exceed 7-10 months. Moreover, benefit seems to be limited to patients with good performance status and treatment toxicity and discomfort are not negligible, specially that of regimens with cisplatin or infusional 5FU. Trying to improve these results, the incorporation of new drugs has been explored. Among the new combinations, the more developed ones are those with Docetaxel (DCF), oxaliplatin (EOX, FLO), Capecitabine (EOX, cisplatin-Xeloda) and irinotecan (ILF). We have final results from Phase III trials that suggest that all these regimens could have a role in the treatment of these patients but survival is still very poor and toxicity remains important. It would be interesting to investigate other new combinations and the incorporation of drugs directed against new therapeutic targets in this setting. It would be of utmost interest that these clinical trials would also explore clinical and molecular prognostic and predictive factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Camptothecin / administration & dosage
  • Camptothecin / analogs & derivatives
  • Capecitabine
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Deoxycytidine / administration & dosage
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Docetaxel
  • Drug Combinations
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Fluorouracil / analogs & derivatives
  • Humans
  • Irinotecan
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Oxonic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Stomach Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage
  • Tegafur / administration & dosage
  • Tegafur / therapeutic use
  • Uracil / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drug Combinations
  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • Taxoids
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Deoxycytidine
  • S 1 (combination)
  • Tegafur
  • Docetaxel
  • Uracil
  • Oxonic Acid
  • Capecitabine
  • Irinotecan
  • Fluorouracil
  • Camptothecin

Supplementary concepts

  • 1-UFT protocol