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According to results from a late-breaking abstract presented at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the chemotherapy regimen including Eloxatin® (oxaplatin) and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) appears superior to the chemotherapy regimen Platinol® (cisplatin) and 5-FU in patients with advanced gastric cancer.

Gastric (stomach) cancer is the fourteenth-most common cancer in the U.S. Approximately 90% of gastric cancers are classified as adenocarcinomas; the classification refers to the type of cell where the cancer developed. Only 10%–20% of patients in the U.S. who are diagnosed with gastric cancer have early-stage cancer, while the majority is diagnosed with advanced disease.

Advanced gastric cancer refers to cancer that has spread to several and/or distant sites in the body. Treatment for advanced gastric cancer is often not intended to cure the patient, but is rather aimed at improving their quality of life and extending their survival.

The main component of treatment for patients who, due to extent of spread or location of the cancer, cannot have their cancer surgically removed is chemotherapy. Researchers continue to evaluate and compare newer chemotherapy regimens for the treatment of advanced gastric cancer in order to improve survival.

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Researchers recently conducted a multi-center clinical trial to directly compare the chemotherapy regimen Eloxatin/5-FU/leucovorin to Platinol/5-FU/leucovorin in 220 patients with advanced gastric cancer.

  • Anticancer responses were achieved in 27% of patients treated with the Platinol-based regimen, compared to 38% for patients treated with the Eloxatin-based regimen.
  • Disease stabilization was achieved in 33% of patients treated with Platinol-based therapy, compared with 46% of patients treated with Eloxatin-based therapy.
  • Disease progression occurred in 32% of patients treated with Platinol-based regimen, compared with only 17% for those treated with the Eloxatin-based regimen.
  • Overall, side effects, except for neuropathy (tingling or numbness of fingers or toes), were reduced for patients treated with Eloxatin.

The researchers concluded that Eloxatin in place of Platinol appears to reduce the risk of cancer progression among patients with advanced gastric cancer. Longer follow-up will help provide data on survival and recurrence rates among these patients.

Reference: Al-Batran SE, Hartmann JT, Probst S. A randomized phase III trial in patients with advanced adenocarcinoma of the stomach receiving first-line chemotherapy with fluorouracil, leucovorine and oxaliplatin (FLO) versus fluorouracil, leucovorine and cisplatin (FLP). Program and abstracts of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology; June 2-6, 2006; Atlanta, Georgia. Abstract LBA4016.