The aim of this exploratory subgroup analysis of the fluorouracil, oxaliplatin, docetaxel (FLOT)65+ trial was to determine tolerability and feasibility of perioperative chemotherapy in elderly, potentially operable esophagogastric cancer patients.
Patients aged ⩾65 with locally advanced esophagogastric adenocarcinoma were randomized to perioperative chemotherapy consisting of four pre- and four postoperative cycles of infusional 5-FU, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin (FLO) without or with docetaxel 50 mg m−2 (FLOT), every 2 weeks.
Forty-four patients with a median age of 70 years were randomized and 43 patients started preoperative chemotherapy (FLO, 22; FLOT, 21). Thirty-eight (86.4%) patients completed four cycles of preoperative chemotherapy and 32 (74.4%) proceeded to surgery, with 67.4% R0 resections on intent-to-treat analysis (90.1% of the 32 patients who underwent resection). Median overall survival was not reached and median progression-free survival (PFS) was 17.3 months. Compared with the FLO group, the FLOT group showed a trend towards an improved median PFS (21.1 vs 12.0 months; P=0.09), however, associated with increased chemotherapy related toxicity. No perioperative mortality was observed. Postoperative morbidity was observed in 46.9% of patients (FLO, 35.3% FLOT, 60%).
Neoadjuvant FLO or FLOT may offer a reasonable chance of curative surgery in elderly patients with locally advanced resectable gastroesophageal cancer. However, the increase in side effects with the FLOT regimen and postoperative morbidity should be carefully considered when an intensive chemotherapy regimen is planned.