Cancers of esophagus and stomach are common malignant diseases worldwide, and they
are associated with serious morbidity and high mortality rates. When diagnosed at an early stage,
gastro-esophageal cancers are potentially curable. Neo-adjuvant or adjuvant therapies using both
chemotherapy and radiation therapy have been shown to reduce the risk of local recurrence and
distant metastasis. For advanced or metastatic tumors, systemic chemotherapy offers symptomatic
palliation and moderate benefits in survival. With recent advances in anti-cancer therapeutics, progress has been made to
improve treatment response and life expectancy in patients with advanced gastro-esophageal cancers. Furthermore, the
clinical use of molecularly targeted agents in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapeutics is being evaluated in a
number of ongoing clinical trials. In this article, we review currently used standard systemic therapies including recently
evolving targeted therapies for metastatic gastro-esophageal cancers, as well as the proven role and the regimens that are
used as neoadjuvant and adjuvant treatment in localized gastro-esophageal cancers.
Keywords: Esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, gastro-esophageal cancer, gastro-esophageal junction tumor, GI cancers,
systemic therapy, targeted therapy.
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