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The use of a new platinum chemotherapy drug, currently called SKI-2053R, may provide effectiveness against advanced stomach cancer, without the side effects of the commonly used platinum drug, cisplatin.

Patients who have stomach cancer that is detected early can often be cured with surgery alone. Patients with more advanced stomach cancer often are treated with chemotherapy before or after surgery. One of the most active chemotherapy drugs against stomach cancer is cisplatin, a platinum-containing agent. When used in combination with other drugs, cisplatin results in significant responses in 40 to 70% of patients with stomach cancer. The disadvantages to cisplatin are 1) some stomach cancers are resistant to cisplatin and 2) cisplatin can cause significant side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and damage to the kidneys and nerve cells. Now, researchers report that a new platinum-containing drug may be as effective as cisplatin, with fewer side effects.

Researchers in Korea treated 37 patients with advanced stomach cancer that was metastatic (had spread to other parts of the body) or could not be removed with surgery. Patients received a 1-hour infusion of SKI-2053R every 28 days. Seventeen percent of patients had major responses to treatment, with 6% being complete responses. Furthermore, lymph nodes and metastatic sites (places to which the cancer had spread) showed responses to treatment. The average duration of response was 7 months. No severe side effects were observed, and no reductions in drug dose were needed.

These findings suggest that SKI-2053R produces a response rate similar to that of cisplatin in patients with advanced stomach cancer. Furthermore, SKI-2053R results in less severe side effects, particularly toxic effects in the kidneys, compared with cisplatin. Further studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of SKI-2053R in combination with other chemotherapy drugs. (

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