Oral fluoropyrimidine plus cisplatin is often not tolerated by patients with severe peritoneal metastases of gastric cancer. Combination of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), l-leucovorin (l-LV), and paclitaxel (FLTAX) has promising activity for such patients. We conducted a phase II/III study comparing FLTAX with 5-FU/l-LV.
Eligibility criteria included: unresectable or recurrent gastric adenocarcinoma; 20-75 years; performance status (PS) 0-2; peritoneal metastases + ; massive ascites and/or inadequate oral intake; no prior chemotherapy. Patients were randomly assigned to receive 5-FU/l-LV or FLTAX. The primary endpoint of phase III was overall survival: UMIN000010949.
We enrolled 101 patients. Early deaths occurred in patients with PS 2 having massive ascites and inadequate oral intake simultaneously; the protocol was amended to exclude such patients. Median survival times were 6.1 and 7.3 months for the 5-FU/l-LV and the FLTAX arms, respectively (HR 0.792; 80% CI 0.596-1.053; one-sided p = 0.1445). FLTAX arm had longer progression-free survival (PFS) [1.9 vs 5.4 months (HR 0.64; 95% CI, 0.43-0.96; p = 0.029)]. Grade 3/4 adverse events such as leucopenia and anorexia were more frequently observed in the 5-FU/l-LV arm. In the 5-FU/l-LV arm, two deaths were treatment-related. In the 5-FU/l-LV and FLTAX arms, 12 and 3 deaths occurred within 30 days after the last protocol treatment, respectively.
Chemotherapy was indicated for patients with severe peritoneal metastases excluding patients with PS 2 having massive ascites and inadequate oral intake simultaneously. FLTAX did not confer a significant survival benefit but may be preferred because of longer PFS and acceptable toxicity.

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