The aim of the study was to evaluate the response rate and safety of weekly paclitaxel (Taxol®) combination chemotherapy with UFT (tegafur, an oral 5-fluorouracil prodrug, and uracil at a 1 : 4 molar ratio) and leucovorin (LV) in patients with advanced gastric cancer. Patients with histologically confirmed, locally advanced or recurrent/metastatic gastric cancer were studied. Paclitaxel 1-h infusion at a dose of 100 mg m-2 on days 1 and 8 and oral UFT 300 mg m- day-1 plus LV 90 mg day-1 were given starting from day 1 for 14 days, followed by a 7-day period without treatment. Treatment was repeated every 21 days. From February 2003 to October 2004, 55 patients were enrolled. The median age was 62 years (range: 32-82). Among the 48 patients evaluated for tumour response, two achieved a complete response and 22 a partial response, with an overall response rate of 50% (95% confidence interval: 35-65%). All 55 patients were evaluated for survival and toxicities. Median time to progression and overall survival were 4.4 and 9.8 months, respectively. Major grade 3-4 toxicities were neutropenia in 25 patients (45%) and diarrhoea in eight patients (15%). Although treatment was discontinued owing to treatment-related toxicities in nine patients (16%), there was no treatment-related mortality. Weekly paclitaxel plus oral UFT/LV is effective, convenient, and well tolerated in treating patients with advanced gastric cancer.
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