Past and Present Achievements, and Future Direction of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Study Group (GIOSG), a Division of Japan Clinical Oncology Group (JCOG)

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Initially, Gastrointestinal Study Group in Japan Clinical Oncology Group (GIOSG/JCOG) focused on gastric cancer. In 1980s, fluoropyrimidine, cisplatin and mitomycin C were key drugs. A randomized Phase II trial (JCOG8501) comparing futrafur plus mitomycin C and uracil plus futrafur and mitomycin C showed a higher response rate of uracil plus futrafur and mitomycin C than futrafur plus mitomycin C. From the results of two Phase II trials of etoposide, adriamycin and cisplatin, and cisplatin plus 5-fluorouracil, uracil plus futrafur and mitomycin C and cisplatin plus 5-fluorouracil were adopted for the test arms of the Phase III trial (JCOG9205) comparing with continuous infusion of 5-fluorouracil as a control arm. Neither cisplatin plus 5-fluorouracil nor uracil plus futrafur and mitomycin C showed a survival benefit over continuous infusion of 5-fluorouracil. In late 1990s, new agents, irinotecan and S-1, were developed for gastric cancer in Japan. GIOSG conducted a Phase III trial (JCOG9912) investigating superiority of irinotecan plus cisplatin and non-inferiority of monotherapy with S-1 compared with continuous infusion of 5-fluorouracil, and S-1 succeeded in showing non-inferiority. Then, SPIRITS trial showed a survival benefit of S-1 plus cisplatin over S-1, resulting in the establishment of a standard care for advanced gastric cancer in Japan. GIOSG have merged with Gastric Cancer Study Group as the Stomach Cancer Study Group (SCSG) from 2011. Recent progress in the development of new drugs has been remarkable. From the point of the roles shared with many other study groups for clinical trials, including registration trials of new drugs conducted by pharmaceutical companies, SCSG should recognize its role and conduct clinical trials with high quality for establishing new standard treatment.

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