ESMO E-Learning: What is the Benefit of Drug Therapy in Advanced Gastric Cancer - and Which Drugs Shall we Use?

Learning Objectives

  • To understand essential principles of systemic treatment in advanced gastric cancer and current treatment algorithm
  • To learn about advances in the treatment and novel targets in gastric cancer  
  • To become familiar with recent achievements from clinical trials or still ongoing studies in patients with advanced gastric cancer
Title Duration Content CME Points CME Test
What is the Benefit of Drug Therapy in Advanced Gastric Cancer - and Which Drugs Shall we Use? 31 min. 57 slides 1 Take Test
Florian Lordick
Read more

Although diagnostic techniques have improved, most patients with gastric cancer in the Western world, unlike those in some Asian countries, already have advanced disease at diagnosis and thus need systemic treatment. The overall prognosis in the advanced stage of the disease is poor and gastric cancer remains one of the most common causes of death from cancer.

Most patients with advanced gastric cancer are symptomatic and suffer from weight loss, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and nausea. Survival in that stage is less than one year in more than half of patients. Complete responses to chemotherapy are rare and if observed they are mostly of short duration. However, chemotherapy prolongs survival and symptom control. The combination chemotherapy is more active than monotherapy. Trastuzumab has been the first targeted agent introduced in the clinic for this setting.

In this E-learning module, the author discusses the benefit of drug therapy in patients with advanced gastric cancer and provides an expert opinion on which drugs to use in particular settings. The module is divided into several units in which the author provides a rationale based on data from trials on clinically relevant scenarios, such as substituting cisplatin by oxaliplatin, substituiting i.v. 5-FU by oral fluoropyrimidines, use of drug combinarions and in particular the role of triplets and especially docetaxel. Each segment is discussed in terms of efficacy, toxicity, quality of life and other relevant clinical data. The topics are divided to answer the question on “where do we stand today in first- and second-line treatments”.

A specific part of the presentation is dedicated to targeted therapies that have been developed on the basis of our increased understanding of gastric cancer biology and molecular pathogenesis. The module covers a number of targets and their screening, as well as associating them with relevant targeted drugs and the results from recent and on-going clinical trials. In particular, the author discusses results from anti-HER2 treatment strategies, anti-EGFR directed therapy, targeting c-MET and anti-angiogenic treatments.

This E-learning module focuses on current treatment strategies and recent advances in the treatment of patients with advanced gastric cancer; therefore, it is an ideal opportunity to gain an overview and become acquainted with the current and emerging treatment approaches and their underlying scientific evidence.

Last update: 08 January 2014

The author has reported to be currently conducting research sponsored by Merck KGaA and to be a member of the speakers’ bureau of Roche, Lilly, Merck, Taiho and Amgen.