Background: The toxic effects of S-1 can lead to discontinuation of treatment. Strategies for reducing toxicity without compromising therapeutic effectiveness are required.
Methods: We used the human gastric cancer cell lines MKN28 and MKN45 to examine such strategies in vitro. The cell lines were treated with three different regimens, given on alternate days (alternate-day) or on consecutive days (consecutive-day). On consecutive days, treatment A provided the same total dose as the alternate-day treatment, and treatment B was given for the same number of days as the alternate-day treatment. A fourth group served as control. In vitro, the relative inhibition (RI) of tumor growth by 5-fluorouracil was calculated using the 2-(2-methyl-4-nitrophenyl)-3-(4-nitrophyl)-5-2, 4-disulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium (WST-8) method. We also carried out an in vivo experiment in which tumor-bearing nude mice (BALBc/nu-nu) were used to examine the antitumor activity of S-1. Leukocyte counts and gastrointestinal mucosal injury were compared in mice that received alternate-day and consecutive-day treatments.
Results: In vitro, for MKN28, the RI was 22.9% for alternate-day, 34.1% for consecutive-day A, and 37.7% for consecutive-day B treatments. For MKN45, the RI was 51.1% for alternate-day, 52.2% for consecutive-day A, and 50.5% for consecutive-day B treatments. In vivo, for MKN28, the treated groups showed higher inhibition than the control, and inhibition of tumor growth was higher with alternate-day than with consecutive-day treatment. The RI was significantly higher with alternate-day (49.3%) than with consecutive-day treatment (16.2%; P < 0.05). For MKN45, the RI was greater than 50% in both treated groups. With consecutive-day treatment, 5 of the 14 mice used died during treatment. Leukocyte counts were lower in the mice with consecutive-day than with alternate-day treatment, or control. Atrophic changes and inflammatory cell infiltration of the small intestinal mucosa were severe after consecutive-day, but minimal after alternate-day treatment.
Conclusion: Experimentally, alternate-day treatment with S-1 is equivalent to consecutive-day treatment in terms of RI of tumor growth, with lower toxicity.