August 1st 2005
Gastric cancer is a global health issue. Most cases are diagnosed atan advanced stage with poor prognosis. Current therapies have a modestimpact on survival. Surgery remains the only potentially curativetreatment, but is associated with a high rate of locoregional recurrenceand distant metastases. Total gastrectomy for proximal cancers is complicatedby postoperative morbidity and quality-of-life impairment.Combined-modality therapy may improve outcomes in this disease.Adjuvant therapy for gastric cancer has now become the standard inthe Western world. However, adjuvant therapy improves survival by onlya few months and is associated with high morbidity. Neoadjuvant therapyis commonly used for esophageal and gastroesophageal junction cancers,but is still regarded as investigational in gastric cancer. Severalsmall phase II studies indicate the feasibility of neoadjuvant strategies.The incorporation of novel, targeted agents into neoadjuvant programsand an assessment of biologic changes within the tumor may refinetherapy. This article provides a concise review of the literature onneoadjuvant therapy for gastric cancer and suggests avenues for furtherinvestigation.