Drugs used in the treatment of stomach cancer

A number of chemo drugs can be used to treat stomach cancer, including:

Picture of a test used for stomach cancer

  • 5-FU (fluorouracil), often given along with leucovorin (folinic acid)
  • Capecitabine (Xeloda)
  • Carboplatin
  • Cisplatin
  • Docetaxel (Taxotere)
  • Epirubicin (Ellence)
  • Irinotecan (Camptosar)
  • Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin)
  • Paclitaxel (Taxol)

Depending on the situation (including the stage of the cancer, the person’s overall health, and whether chemo is combined with radiation therapy), these drugs may be used alone or combined with other chemotherapy or targeted drugs.

Some common drug combinations used when surgery is planned include:

  • ECF (epirubicin, cisplatin, and 5-FU),which may be given before and after surgery
  • Docetaxel or paclitaxel plus either 5-FU or capecitabine, combined with radiation as treatment before surgery
  • Cisplatin plus either 5-FU or capecitabine, combined with radiation as treatment before surgery
  • Paclitaxel and carboplatin, combined with radiation as treatment before surgery

When chemo for stomach cancer is given with radiation after surgery, a single drug such as 5-FU or capecitabine may be used.

To treat advanced stomach cancer, ECF may also be used, but other combinations may also be helpful. Some of these include:

  • DCF (docetaxel, cisplatin and 5-FU)
  • Irinotecan plus cisplatin
  • Irinotecan plus 5-FU or capecitabine
  • Oxaliplatin plus 5-FU or capecitabine

Many doctors prefer to use combinations of 2 chemo drugs to treat advanced stomach cancer. Three-drug combinations can have more side effects, so they are usually reserved for people who are in very good health and who can be followed closely by their doctor.

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