An international collaboration of investigators randomly assigned 445 patients with metastatic gastric cancer to receive docetaxel, cisplatin, and 5-FU (DCF) or CF. Time-to-treatment progression (TTP) was the primary endpoint. Patients who received DCF experienced a significantly longer TTP (5.6 months; 95% CI, 4.9–5.9; vs. 3.7 months; 95% CI, 3.4–4.5; HR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.19–1.82; log-rank P < .001; risk reduction 32%). The median OS was significantly longer for patients who received DCF versus patients who received CF (9.2 months; 95% CI, 8.4–10.6; vs. 8.6 months; 95% CI, 7.2–9.5; HR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.0–1.6; log-rank P = .02; risk reduction = 23%).[Level of evidence: 1iiA] There were high toxicity rates in both arms. Febrile neutropenia was more common in patients who received DCF (29% vs. 12%), and the death rate on the study was 10.4% for patients on the DCF arm and 9.4% for patients on the CF arm.
Whether the CF regimen should be considered as an index regimen for the treatment of patients with metastatic gastric cancer is the subject of debate. The results of a study that randomly assigned 245 patients with metastatic gastric cancer to receive CF, FAMTX, or ELF demonstrated no significant difference in response rate, progression-free survival, or OS between the arms. Grades 3 and 4 neutropenia occurred in 35% to 43% of patients on all arms, but severe nausea and vomiting was more common in patients in the CF arm and occurred in 26% of those patients.[Level of evidence: 1iiDiv]
In an open-label, international phase III trial, patients with HER2-positive metastatic, inoperable locally advanced, or recurrent gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer were randomly assigned to chemotherapy with or without the anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody trastuzumab. HER2 positivity was defined as either 3+ staining by IHC or a HER2 to CEP17 ratio of two or more using FISH. Tumors from 3,665 patients were HER2 tested; of the patients, 810 were positive (22%) and 594 met eligibility criteria for randomization. Chemotherapy consisted of cisplatin plus 5-FU or capecitabine chosen at the investigator's discretion. The study treatment was administered every 3 weeks for six cycles, and trastuzumab was continued every 3 weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or withdrawal of consent. Crossover to trastuzumab at disease progression was not permitted. Median OS was 13.8 months (95% CI, 12–16) in patients assigned to trastuzumab and 11.1 months (95% CI, 10–13) in patients assigned to chemotherapy alone (HR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.60–0.91; P = .0046).[Level of evidence: 1iiA] There was no significant difference in rates of any adverse event, and cardiotoxicity was equally rare in both arms.