Only a few clinical trials have been conducted in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer after failure of first-line gemcitabine-based chemotherapy. Therefore, there is no current consensus on the treatment of these patients. We conducted a randomised phase II study of the modified FOLFIRI.3 (mFOLFIRI.3; a regimen combining 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), folinic acid, and irinotecan) and modified FOLFOX (mFOLFOX; a regimen combining folinic acid, 5-FU, and oxaliplatin) regimens as second-line treatments in patients with gemcitabine-refractory pancreatic cancer.
The primary end point was the 6-month overall survival rate. The mFOlFIRI.3 regimen consisted of irinotecan (70 mg m−2; days 1 and 3), leucovorin (400 mg m−2; day 1), and 5-FU (2000 mg m−2; days 1 and 2) every 2 weeks. The mFOLFOX regimen was composed of oxaliplatin (85 mg m−2; day 1), leucovorin (400 mg m−2; day 1), and 5-FU (2000 mg m−2; days 1 and 2) every 2 weeks.
Sixty-one patients were randomised to mFOLFIRI.3 (n=31) or mFOLFOX (n=30) regimen. The six-month survival rates were 27% (95% confidence interval (CI)=13–46%) and 30% (95% CI=15–49%), respectively. The median overall survival periods were 16.6 and 14.9 weeks, respectively. Disease control was achieved in 23% (95% CI=10–42%) and 17% patients (95% CI=6–35%), respectively. The number of patients with at least one grade 3/4 toxicity was identical (11 patients, 38%) in both groups: neutropenia (7 patients under mFOLFIRI.3 regimen vs 6 patients under mFOLFOX regimen), asthaenia (1 vs 4), vomiting (3 in both), diarrhoea (2 vs 0), and mucositis (1 vs 2).
Both mFOLFIRI.3 and mFOLFOX regimens were tolerated with manageable toxicity, offering modest activities as second-line treatments for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, previously treated with gemcitabine.