Background: Gastric cancer often presents in a metastasized stage. We conducted a population-based study to evaluate trends in systemic treatment and survival of metastatic noncardia gastric cancer. Patients and methods: All patients with noncardia adenocarcinoma of the stomach, diagnosed between 1990 and 2011 in the Eindhoven Cancer Registry area in the Netherlands were included (N = 4797). We conducted multivariable logistic regression analysis to evaluate trends in administration of palliative chemotherapy and multivariable proportional hazards regression analyses to evaluate trends in crude overall survival. Results: The proportion of patients presenting with metastatic gastric cancer increased from 24% in 1990 to 44% in 2011 (P < 0.0001). The use of palliative chemotherapy increased, from 5% in 1990 to 36% in 2011, with a strong increase in particular after 2006 (P < 0.0001). Younger patients [<50 years: adjusted odds ratio (ORadj) 3.9, P < 0.001; 50-59 years: ORadj 1.7, P = 0.01] and patients with a high socioeconomic status (ORadj 1.7, P = 0.01) more often received chemotherapy. In contrast, older patients (70-79 years: ORadj 0.3, P < 0.001; 80+ years: ORadj 0.02, P < 0.001), patients with comorbidity (ORadj 0.6, P = 0.03), linitis plastica (ORadj 0.5, P = 0.03) and multiple distant metastases (ORadj 0.5, P = 0.01) were less often treated with chemotherapy. A large hospital variation was observed in the administration of palliative chemotherapy (9%-27%). Median overall survival remained constant between 15 [95% confidence interval (CI) 11.9-17.7] and 17 (95% CI 15.0-20.0) weeks (P = 0.10). Conclusions: The increased administration of chemotherapy in patients with metastatic gastric cancer did not lead to an increase in population-based overall survival. Identification of the subgroup of patients which benefits from palliative chemotherapy is of utmost importance to avoid unnecessary treatment.

Chemotherapy, Gastric cancer, Hospital variation, Metastasis, Survival,
Annals of Oncology
Department of Medical Oncology

Bernards, N, Creemers, G.J.M, Nieuwenhuijzen, G.A.P, Bosscha, K, Pruijt, J.F.M, & Lemmens, V.E.P.P. (2013). No improvement in median survival for patients with metastatic gastric cancer despite increased use of chemotherapy. Annals of Oncology, 24(12), 3056–3060. doi:10.1093/annonc/mdt401