The optimal duration of first-line chemotherapy for patients with advanced gastric cancer is unknown. Diverse clinical trials have proposed different strategies including limited treatment, maintenance of some drugs, or treatment until progression.
The sample comprises patients from the AGAMENON multicenter registry without progression after second evaluation of response. The objective was to explore the optimal duration of first-line chemotherapy. A frailty multi-state model was conducted.
415 patients were divided into three strata: discontinuation of platinum and maintenance with fluoropyrimidine until progression (30%, n = 123), complete treatment withdrawal prior to progression (52%, n = 216), and full treatment until progression (18%, n = 76). The hazard of tumor progression decreased by 19% per month with the full treatment regimen. However, we found no evidence that fluoropyrimidine maintenance (hazard ratio [HR] 1.07, confidence interval [CI] 95%, 0.69-1.65) worsened progression-free survival (PFS) with respect to treatment until progression. Predictive factors for PFS were ECOG performance status, ≥ 3 metastatic sites, prior tumor response, and bone metastases. Toxicity grade 3/4 was more common in those who continued the full treatment until progression vs fluoropyrimidine maintenance (16% vs 6%).
The longer duration of the full initial regimen exerted a protective effect on the patients of this registry. Platinum discontinuation followed by fluoropyrimidine maintenance yields comparable efficacy to treatment up to PD, with a lower rate of serious adverse events.