Treatable subsets in cancer of unknown primary origin

H. Sumi, K. Itoh, Y. Onozawa, Y. Shigeoka, K. Kodama, K. Ishizawa, H. Fujii, H. Minami, T. Igarashi, Y. Sasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the treatable subsets in cancer of unknown primary origin (CUP). Fifty patients (27 males and 23 females; median age, 53 years) with CUP diagnosed between April 1992 and June 1999 were analyzed retrospectively. Of the 50 patients, 39 received chemotherapy: platinum-based in 31, non-platinum-based in 4, and clinical trials of new agents in 4. Of the 39 patients, 13 (33.3%; 95% confidence interval: 19:1-50.2%) showed objective responses, with 4 complete responders. Patients with poorly differentiated carcinomas in whom β-subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin (β-HCG) was elevated more than 10 mIU/ml and female patients with peritoneal adenocarcinomatosis achieved high response rates (83.3% and 80%, respectively) with platinum-based chemotherapy, as compared with only a 15.3% response rate in the remaining patients. Platinum-based chemotherapy provided promising results in patients with poorly differentiated carcinomas and in female patients with peritoneal adenocarcinomatosis. Significantly elevated serum levels of β-HCG in patients with poorly differentiated carcinoma might predict a better response to platinum-based chemotherapy. However, the investigation of novel chemotherapeutic approaches is warranted for other groups of patients with CUP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)704-709
Number of pages6
JournalJapanese Journal of Cancer Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer of unknown primary
  • Chemosensitive subroups
  • Chemotherapy
  • β-HCG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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