Gastric and Gastroesophageal Cancer Research

Targeted antibody-chemotherapy-radiation combinations for advanced gastric cancer

Historically NYU’s gastric cancer research has focused on multimodality treatment therapy using combinations of systemic chemotherapy before surgery, as well as intraperitoneal chemotherapy after surgery, with and without radiation therapy. A gastric cancer study group has met monthly since 1998 to aggressively pursue novel therapeutic options for gastric and gastroesophageal cancers.

The group’s initial efforts included neoadjuvant induction chemotherapy therapy using irinotecan and cisplatin followed by radical surgery with extensive lymph node dissection as championed by the Japanese. These investigations revealed high response rates and downstaged tumors with major shrinkage of primary tumors and lymph nodes. Following surgery, patients were treated with intraperitoneal chemotherapy to reduce recurrence. The results of these studies have been presented nationally and internationally by the lead investigator, Dr. Elliot Newman. Published results have confirmed the benefit of this approach.

Currently, NYU’s gastric cancer study group is extending this approach, adding the targeted monoclonal antibody Erbitux to the same neoadjuvant chemotherapy program, with postoperative radiation to improve overall survival.

Researchers are performing an innovative pilot study to build on the observation that docetaxel improves survival when added to 5FU and cisplatin for patients with advanced gastric cancer. In this study, researchers are using a less toxic, more user-friendly regimen of docetaxel with oxaliplatin and 48-hour 5FU infusion.

Endoscopy for early detection of gastric cancer in Asian patients

NYU researchers are evaluating the use of endoscopy to detect early stomach cancers and premalignant stomach lesions in Asian patients, who are often at high risk for stomach cancer. Stomach cancer is often advanced by the time symptoms emerge and early detection increases the likelihood of successful treatment.