Improved combination chemotherapy in advanced gastric cancer

Br Med J. 1979 Dec 8;2(6203):1471-3. doi: 10.1136/bmj.2.6203.1471.


Thirty-five patients with advanced-stage metastatic or unresectable gastric adenocarcinoma were given combination chemotherapy consisting of fluorouracil, doxorubicin, and 1,3-bis (2-chlorbethyl)-1-nitrosourea. Two patients achieved complete remission and 16 partial remission to give an overall response rate of 52%. Six further patients (17%) had stable disease, while in 11 (31%) the disease showed clear-cut progression despite treatment. The only pretreatment factors that suggested poor prognosis were poor initial patient performance and the stomach as the predominant site of disease. Patients responding to treatment had a significantly longer time to relapse (median 48 weeks) than patients with stable disease (median 16 weeks) and a significantly improved survival time (medians, 52 weeks with 30% of patients' living at 88 weeks and 32 weeks with all dead at 64 weeks respectively). Comparing these results with those in other reports indicated that the three-drug combination chemotherapy consisting of fluorouracil, doxorubicin, and either a nitrosourea or mitomycin was superior to single and two-drug regimens and currently represents the optimum treatment for advanced-stage gastric cancer. Gastric adenocarcinoma should now be considered to be a gastrointestinal malignancy that is relatively susceptible to chemotherapy, and studies of these improved chemotherapeutic regimens as post-surgical adjuvants may lead to further improvements in prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carmustine / therapeutic use*
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Stomach Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / mortality
  • Time Factors


  • Doxorubicin
  • Fluorouracil
  • Carmustine