Purpose: Advanced gastric cancer (AGC) rarely presents with disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) at the time of diagnosis before treatment with no current standard chemotherapy (CTx) regimen. However the prognosis is extremely poor without CTx. We investigated the effectiveness of sequential CTx with methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil (MF) in chemotherapy-naive AGC patients with DIC.
Methods: We retrospectively examined AGC patients who received first-line CTx and selected those who were diagnosed with DIC before starting CTx to investigate clinical characteristics and responses.
Results: From July 1999 to January 2007, 1,365 patients with unresectable or recurrent AGC received first-line CTx at the National Cancer Center Hospital in Tokyo, Japan. DIC was diagnosed in 22 (1.6%) patients (16 men and 6 women; median age, 56 years) and the performance status of all the patients was 1/2/3 = 9/10/3. Nineteen patients (86%) had histologically diffuse-type adenocarcinoma and 18 (82%) had bone metastasis. Patients received sequential MF every week until progressive disease was confirmed, with DIC improving in 17 (77%) patients. The median time-to-treatment failure for AGC and overall survival were 98 days [95% confidence interval (CI), range 50-146 days] and 154 days (95% CI, range 126-180 days), respectively. Grade 3 or greater toxicities consisted of neutropenia (4 patients, 18%), anemia (9 patients, 40%), thrombocytopenia (4 patients, 18%), and bilirubinemia (1 patient, 5%).
Conclusions: MF was an effective and well-tolerated regimen for improving DIC in chemotherapy-naive AGC patients with DIC; however, the prognosis of the patients remained poor even with improved DIC parameters.