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 Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>