Published online Dec 15, 2002. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v8.i6.1023
Revised: April 12, 2002
Accepted: April 20, 2002
Published online: December 15, 2002
AIM: To assess the safety and efficacy of different intravenous chemotherapeutic regimens in patients with gastric carcinomas who had undergone gastrectomy.
METHODS: A meta-analysis of all the relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was performed. Language was restricted to Chinese and English. RCTs were identified from Medline and Embase (1980-2001/4), and Chinese Bio-medicine Database (1990-2001/1). Literature references were checked at the same time. We included randomized and quasi-randomized trials comparing the efficacy of intravenous chemotherapy after gastrectomy with that of surgery alone in patients with confirmed gastric carcinomas who had undergone gastrectomy. Selection criteria were: randomized or quasi-randomized trials with following-up results; Trials could be double-blind, single-blind or not blind; Chemotherapy groups were given intravenous chemotherapy after gastrectomy without neo-adjuvant chemotherapy, intraperitoneal hyperthermic perfusion, radiotherapy or chemoimmunotherapy; Controlled group included those receiving gastrectomy alone. The following data were extracted: the number of survival and death by the end of the follow-up; the different agents and doses of the intravenous chemotherapy; the baseline of the chemotherapy group and the controlled arm; the serious adverse events; the statistical consideration; cost-effectiveness analysis. The statistical analysis was performed by RevMan4.1 software which was provided by the Cochrane Collaboration. A P value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Meta-analysis was done with random effects model. Heterogeneity was checked by chi-square test. Sensitivity analysis was performed by excluding the trials in which Jadad-scale was only 1 score. The result was expressed with odds ratio (OR) for the categorical variable.
RESULTS: Fourteen trials involving 4543 patients were included. Meta-analysis was done with random effects model Heterogeneity and sensitivity analysis were performed also. The effect of intravenous chemotherapy after gastrectomy was better than surgery alone (odds ratio 0.56, 95%CI 0.40-0.79). There was a significant difference between the two groups by u-test (P = 0.0008). Sensitivity analysis revealed the same difference (odds ratio 0.81, 95%CI 0.70-0.94). Of fourteen trials, only three studies were of high quality according to the Jadad-scale (with three score). There was one meta-analysis trial and the others, about ten trials, were of low quality. There was no trial which mentioned sample-size calculation, allocation concealment, intention-to-treat analysis. Most of the trials didn’t describe the blind-procedure. There were five trials which detailed the side-effects according to the toxicity grade by WHO standard. The side-effects halting treatment were haematologic and biochemical toxicity, debilitating nausea and vomiting. There were two patients died of chemotherapy toxicity.
CONCLUSION: Based on the review, intravenous chemotherapy after gastrectomy may have positive treatment effect on gastric cancer. However, the evidence is not strong because of the general low methodologic quality of the RCTs. Therefore, we can’t make the conclusion that intravenous chemotherapy after gastrectomy may have better treatment effect on gastric cancer than that of surgery alone. Rigorously designed, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials are required.