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November 26, 1960

Chemotherapy of Solid CarcinomaIndications, Agents, and Results

Author Affiliations


Assistant Director of Surgery, Milwaukee County Hospital, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Marquette University School of Medicine; Trainee, National Cancer Institute (Dr. Hurley). Professor and Chairman, Department of Surgery, Marquette University School of Medicine (Dr. Ellison). Residents in Surgery, Milwaukee County Hospital (Dr. Riesch and Dr. Schulte).

JAMA. 1960;174(13):1696-1701. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03030130024007

Cancer chemotherapy is indicated in patients who are considered fair risks, have primary inoperable or recurrent tumors, and have not been relieved by conventional therapy including palliative surgery and hormone therapy. It is contraindicated when there is much debility and wasting and when the tumor is known not to respond to the proposed agent. In this study of 500 patients, three alkylating agents (nitrogen mustard, triethylene melamine, and triethylene thiophosphoramide) and three antimetabolic agents (methotrexate, 6-mercaptopurine, and 5-fluorouracil) were used. The best results were obtained in cases of breast carcinoma, which manifested a beneficial response for two or more months in 60 cases out of 100. Esophageal carcinomas did not respond to any of these six agents.