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Phase II and III trials of docetaxel, cisplatin and fluorouracil (DCF) have shown superior efficacy versus cisplatin and fluorouracil alone but high rates of hematologic toxicity in advanced gastric cancer. To reduce toxicity while maintaining the efficacy of DCF, we investigated split doses of docetaxel (T), cisplatin (P), leucovorin (L) and fluorouracil (F).Chemotherapy-naive patients with advanced gastric-/esophageal adenocarcinomas received T 50 mg/m2 and P 50 mg/m2 on days 1, 15 and 29 and L 500 mg/m2 plus F 2000 mg/m2 weekly, every 8 weeks. Because significant dose reductions to <80% became necessary in 80% of patients, the regimen was amended after the first 15 patients to T 40 mg/m2, P 40 mg/m2, L 200 mg/m2 and F 2000 mg/m2. The primary endpoint was response rate.Sixty patients were enrolled: 24 had locally advanced (LA) tumors and 36 had metastatic disease. Grade 3/4 toxicities included neutropenia (22%), febrile neutropenia (5%), diarrhea (20%) and lethargy (18%). The overall response rate was 47%. Twenty-three LA patients underwent secondary surgical resection (96%); complete resection was achieved in 87%. Overall, median time to progression and overall survival were 9.4 and 17.9 months, respectively (8.1 and 15.1 months, respectively, for patients with metastatic disease).T-PLF regimen is highly active and has a favorable toxicity profile.