We evaluated the effects of chemotherapy given postoperatively with and without immunodulators on the survival of patients who had undergone resection for gastric cancer. We conducted a retrospective survey of data on 963 Japanese patients treated at our department of surgery between 1965 and 1987. Data related to the duration of postoperative survival were calculated for those who received chemotherapy, i. e. an individualized combination of various agents given or without the immunomodulators PSK, a protein extract of the fungus Coriolus versicolor, and/or OK-432, a preparation of an attenuated strain of Streptococcus (immunochemotherapy). Postoperative immunochemotherapy was more often prescribed for patients with advanced disease. The survival of patients who received immunochemotherapy was shorter than that of patients who received only chemotherapy. In a subgroup of patients adjusted for disease stage, the survival of those on chemotherapy versus immunochemotherapy did not differ significantly at any stage. For optimal results, a protocol for postoperative immunochemotherapy needs to be designed and investigated prospectively and according to the stage of gastric cancer. The stage III gastric cancers seem amenable to a favorable response.
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