Aim: To assess the use of capecitabine-based therapy and associated complication rates in patients with gastroesophageal cancer (GEC) in a real-world treatment setting.
Methods: Patients with claims between 2004 and 2005 were identified from the Thomson Reuters MarketScan databases. Capecitabine regimens were compared with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and other chemotherapy regimens, and were stratified by treatment setting.
Results: We identified 1013 patients with GEC: approximately half had treatment initiated with a 5-FU regimen, whereas 11% had therapy initiated with a capecitabine regimen. The mean capecitabine dose overall was 2382 +/- 1118 mg/d, and capecitabine was used as monotherapy more often than in combination. Overall, 5-FU regimens were the most common treatment option in neoadjuvant and adjuvant settings, while other non-capecitabine regimens were used more widely in first- and second-line settings. The overall unadjusted complication rate for capecitabine regimens was about half of that seen with 5-FU regimens. In multivariate analyses, capecitabine recipients had a 51% (95% CI: 26%-81%) lower risk of developing any complication than 5-FU recipients did. The risk of developing bone marrow, constitutional, gastrointestinal tract, infectious, or skin complications was lower with capecitabine therapy than with 5-FU.
Conclusion: Capecitabine appeared to have a favorable side effect profile compared with 5-FU, which indicates that it may be a treatment option for GEC.