Background: The efficacy and benefit of second-line chemotherapy in advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma has never been demonstrated although it is regularly used.
Patients and methods: A randomized phase II study evaluating oxaliplatin alone (OXA), infusional 5-fluorouracil alone (5-FU) and an oxaliplatin/infusional 5-FU combination (OXFU) in untreated advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma has been conducted. In this trial, a second-line treatment with the OXFU regimen (OXA 130 mg/m2 2-h intravenous (i.v.) infusion combined with 5-FU (1000 mg/m2/day, continuous i.v., days 1-4), every 3 weeks) was offered to patients progressing after single agent treatment.
Results: Eighteen out of 32 patients (12 males, median age 57 years) treated in the single agent arms received the OXFU combination in second-line treatment. WHO performance status was at least 2 in 61% of the patients. There was no objective response and 3 patients (17%) had a disease stabilisation. Median time to progression from the start of second-line treatment was 0.9 months. Median overall survival was 4.9 months from the start of front-line therapy and 1.3 months from the start of second-line therapy.
Conclusion: The results of this trial bring arguments to support a modest value of second-line chemotherapy for advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma.