Advances in the treatment of gastric cancer

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Purpose of review

To review recent studies in esophagogastric cancer.

Recent findings

Positive emission tomography (PET) scan in follow-up after curative treatment of esophagogastric cancer did not lead to improved survival. In the preoperative treatment of esophagogastric cancer, the addition of the antivascular endothelial growth factor agent bevacizumab to perioperative chemotherapy with combination epirubicin, cisplatinum, and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU; ECF) failed to improve survival compared with chemotherapy alone. In a head-to-head comparison of preoperative chemotherapy for locally advanced gastric and esophagogastric adenocarcinoma, FLOT (fluorouracil, leucovorin, oxaliplatin, and docetaxel) significantly improved overall survival compared with ECF. Assessing response to induction chemotherapy prior to combined preoperative chemoradiotherapy in PET nonresponding patients allowed a change in chemotherapy during subsequent radiotherapy with improved rates of pathologic complete response. In human epidermal growth factor receptor-2-positive advanced esophagogastric adenocarcinoma, second-line treatment with the chemotherapy/trastuzumab drug conjugate emtansine/trastuzumab failed to improve response or overall survival compared with treatment using paclitaxel chemotherapy. The immune checkpoint inhibitor, nivolumab, improved survival in refractory gastric cancer.


Recent studies in gastric cancer clarify the optimal preoperative chemotherapy regimen and the use of PET scan as a response measure of preoperative therapy in esophagogastric cancer, and the role of targeted agents and immune checkpoint inhibitors in metastatic disease.

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