Epirubicin-based compared with docetaxel-based chemotherapy for advanced gastric carcinoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2016 Jun:102:82-8. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2016.04.001. Epub 2016 Apr 8.


Docetaxel or Epirubicin-based regimens are both approved for the treatment of metastatic gastric cancer. We perform a systemic review with metanalysis to evaluate the efficacy and toxicities of docetaxel-based chemotherapy compared with epirubicin-containing regimens. A metaanalysis of randomized studies in accordance with the preference guidelines for reported items in systematic reviews and meta-analyses is performed in which the databases of PubMed, the Cochrane Library, and the ASCO University Meeting were searched for relevant publications. The primary outcome was efficacy, the secondary toxicities. A total of 553 cases were included in the meta-analysis; 278 received epirubicin-based treatment and 313 received docetaxel. The pooled risk ratio to achieve an objective response and a disease control rate were 1.08 (95% CI 0.85-1.37; P=0.52) and 0.90 (95% CI 0.75-1.08; P=0.27) respectively. EPI arm showed a decrease in the risk of neutropenia, anemia, fatigue, asthenia and diarrhea, paraesthesia; docetaxel arm showed a decrease in the risk of leucopenia, thrombocytopenia, anorexia, nausea, nausea-vomiting, stomatitis and neutropenic fever. The results of our study suggest a similar activity of docetaxel and epirubicin-based chemotherapeutic regimens in metastatic gastric cancer. Other parameters as, comorbidity, concomitant diseases and prior therapies should be taken into account to address the clinician's choice in selecting the best therapeutical approach for any single patient.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; Docetaxel; Epirubicin; Gastric cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Docetaxel
  • Epirubicin / administration & dosage*
  • Epirubicin / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Stomach Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage*
  • Taxoids / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Taxoids
  • Docetaxel
  • Epirubicin