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Methods: The effects of EGFR CNG on fluoropyrimidine/platinum chemotherapy sensitivity in a cohort of gastroesophageal cancer patients (n = 302) was evaluated. Drug combination studies using the EGFR inhibitor gefitinib with cytotoxic chemotherapies, docetaxel, cisplatin, oxaliplatin and irinotecan, on cell proliferation and cell death of EGFR CNG ESCC cell lines were assessed.
Results: EGFR CNG in gastroesophageal cancer patients was associated with improved overall survival following fluoropyrimidine/platinum chemotherapy. However, co-administration of gefitinib and oxaliplatin or cisplatin was frequently antagonistic in cell-based assays in EGFR CNG ESCC, whereas the combination of gefitinib with docetaxel or irinotecan was more efficacious. Co-administration of gefitinib/docetaxel and sequential administration of docetaxel before gefitinib showed synergy, but docetaxel given after gefitinib was antagonistic.
Conclusion: Gefitinib/platinum co-administration demonstrated antagonism suggesting a possible explanation for the lack of benefit from addition of anti-EGFR therapies to fluoropyrimidine/platinum chemotherapy in trials. Gefitinib/docetaxel co-administration demonstrated synergy suggesting taxanes could be the most effective cytotoxic partner for anti-EGFR therapies in EGFR CNG-positive ESCC, but careful consideration of drug scheduling is required.
- Gastroesophageal cancer
- Chemotherapy combinations
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