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BACKGROUND: Mitomycin C and etoposide have both demonstrated activity against gastric carcinoma. Etoposide is a topoisomerase II inhibitor with evidence for phase-specific and schedule-dependent activity. PATIENTS AND METHOD: Twenty-eight consecutive patients with advanced upper gastrointestinal adenocarcinoma were treated with intravenous (i.v.) bolus mitomycin C 6 mg/m2 on day 1 every 21 days to a maximum of four courses. Oral etoposide capsules 50 mg b.i.d. (or 35 mg b.i.d. liquid) were administered days 1 to 10 extending to 14 days in subsequent courses if absolute neutrophil count > 1.5 x 10(9)/l on day 14 of first course, for up to six courses. RESULTS: Twenty-six patients were assessed for response of whom 12 had measurable disease and 14 evaluable disease. Four patients had a documented response (one complete remission, three partial remissions) with an objective response rate of 15% (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 4%-35%). Eight patients had stable disease and 14 progressive disease. The median survival was six months. The schedule was well tolerated with no treatment-related deaths. Nine patients experienced leucopenia (seven grade II and two grade III). Nausea and vomiting (eight grade II, one grade III), fatigue (eight grade II, two grade III) and anaemia (seven grade II, two grade III) were the predominant toxicities. CONCLUSION: This out-patient schedule is well tolerated and shows modest activity in the treatment of advanced upper gastrointestinal adenocarcinoma. Further studies using protracted schedules of etoposide both orally and as infusional treatment should be developed.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Oncol

Publication Date





294 - 296


Adenocarcinoma, Administration, Oral, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Drug Administration Schedule, Esophageal Neoplasms, Etoposide, Female, Humans, Injections, Intravenous, Male, Middle Aged, Mitomycin, Stomach Neoplasms, Treatment Outcome