Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Combination chemotherapy shows small survival benefit in advanced stomach cancer

20.04.2005


Patients with advanced stomach cancer have the best chance of prolonging their survival with a combination of chemotherapies instead of just one, according to a new review of previous studies.



The review also concludes that the best combination is 5-FU, one of the oldest and most commonly used chemotherapy drugs, along with powerful antibiotics called anthracyclines and a platinum-based drug called cisplatin. The benefit, however, is small and may cause a patient to experience more discomfort from the higher toxicity.

The review was conducted by Dr. Anna Dorothea Wagner of the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany and colleagues. It appears in the April issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.


Despite recent progress, stomach cancers remain the second highest cause of cancer death worldwide, in large part because the majority of stomach cancer patients are diagnosed at a late stage of the disease when tumors are inoperable. Although small tumors can be surgically removed in the earliest stages of the disease, the only cure for advanced stomach cancer is complete removal of the stomach.

When Wagner and colleagues compared survival rates among 1,338 patients receiving combination versus single-drug care, they found that half the patients receiving combination treatment were still living seven months later, while half of those taking a single drug were still living 5.9 months later. Most of the patients in the studies were age 56 to 64.

Combination therapies were more toxic than single-drug therapies, however, so "it remains an open question, whether the benefit in survival does indeed compensate for the burden of additional toxicity to be endured by the patient," Wagner says.

The overall rate of toxic deaths among the studies was 2.1 percent for combination chemotherapy and 0.9 percent for single-drug therapy, according to the Cochrane researchers.

Although nine of 10 relevant studies did not demonstrate a significant benefit in overall survival for the combination chemotherapy, powerful statistical analysis did "demonstrate a small but statistically significant and consistent benefit for the combination versus single agent therapy in terms of over overall survival," the reviewers conclude.

For those whom the three-drug therapy is recommended, the review found that large single doses of 5-FU were more likely to cause death than gradual intravenous administration.

Combination chemotherapy is used on a variety of cancers, from lung cancer to endometrial cancers, and combination therapy is the preferred treatment for advanced stomach cancer in the United States and Europe, according to Wagner. Yet combination therapy for stomach cancer "is regarded as controversial in Japan," where most physicians rely on single-drug therapy, Wagner says.

In the United States, the prevalence of cancers at the junction between the stomach and the esophagus, the muscular tube that feeds food to the stomach, is increasing, perhaps in part due to an increase in chronic acid reflux disease, Wagner says.

"Early diagnosis of gastric cancer is difficult because most patients are asymptomatic in the early stage," says Dr. Peter Lopez, a clinical professor and surgeon and the University of Miami School of Medicine. "Weight loss and abdominal pain often are late signs of tumor progression,"

In the next Cochrane review of advanced stomach cancer treatments, scheduled for 2006, researchers will examine the effects of anticancer therapies still in clinical trials that specifically target stomach cancer cells.

Anna Dorothea Wagner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cfah.org
http://www.hbns.org
http://www.cochrane.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>