© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
May 14, 2005Results of the MRC Adjuvant Gastric Infusional Chemotherapy (MAGIC) trial show that perioperative chemotherapy (the use of chemotherapy before and after surgery) improved overall survival and delayed cancer growth for people with operable cancer of the stomach and lower esophagus.The chemotherapy drugs used in this study were epirubicin (Ellence), cisplatin (Platinol), and fluorouracil (Efudex).Between 1994 and 2002, 250 patients received perioperative chemotherapy, and 253 received only surgery. Five years after diagnosis, 36% of the patients who received perioperative chemotherapy were still alive, compared with 23% of those who did not receive chemotherapy. In addition, the cancer continued to grow in 70% of the patients who received chemotherapy, compared with 83% who did not receive chemotherapy."Perioperative chemotherapy should be considered one of the treatment options for patients with these cancers," said Professor David Cunningham, MD, of the Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey, United Kingdom, and lead author of the study. He noted that research has shown that the combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy given after surgery can also help people with this cancer.What this means for patientsPeople with these types of cancer are encouraged to talk to their doctors about the risks and benefits of this treatment. Early results of the MAGIC study were presented at the 2003 ASCO Annual Meeting, where it was reported that the reason chemotherapy before surgery is helpful is because it shrinks tumors, making them easier to remove.