Best supportive care (BSC) versus oxaliplatin, folinic acid and 5-fluorouracil (OFF) plus BSC in patients for second-line advanced pancreatic cancer: a phase III-study from the German CONKO-study group

Eur J Cancer. 2011 Jul;47(11):1676-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2011.04.011. Epub 2011 May 10.


Background: Gemcitabine usually given until progressive disease (PD) is the main first-line treatment option for patients with inoperable advanced pancreatic cancer (APC). Currently there is no accepted active regimen for second-line chemotherapy. Previous phase II studies suggest clinical relevant activity of oxaliplatin, folinic acid and 5-FU (OFF). We initiated a phase III multicentre study comparing OFF versus best supportive care (BSC) in patients with APC progressing while on gemcitabine therapy.

Methods: In this open randomized study, patients with CT and/or MRI confirmed progressive disease while on gemcitabine therapy were randomized 1:1 to OFF or BSC. Stratification included duration of first-line therapy (<3, 3 to 6 and >6 months), performance status (KPS 70-80%; 90-100%) and tumour stage (M1/M0). OFF consisted of folinic acid 200mg/m(2) followed by 5-fluorouracil 2g/m(2) (24h) on d1, d8, d15, d22 and oxaliplatin 85 mg/m(2) on days 8 and 22. After a rest of 3 weeks the next cycle was started on d43. A total of 165 patients were calculated to demonstrate a doubling of survival time after progression on first-line therapy.

Results: After inclusion of forty six patients the trial was terminated according to predefined protocol regulations due to insufficient accrual (lack of acceptance of BSC by patients and physicians. Patient characteristics were well balanced between both study arms. The OFF regimen was well tolerated with more patients with grade I/II paraesthesia and grade II/III nausea/emesis and diarrhoea. Median second-line survival was 4.82 [95% Confidence Interval; 4.29-5.35] months for OFF treatment and 2.30 [95% CI; 1.76-2.83] months with BSC alone (0.45 [95% CI: 0.24-0.83], p = 0.008). Median overall survival for the sequence GEM-OFF was 9.09 [95% CI: 6.97-11.21] and 7.90 [95% CI: 4.95-10.84] months for GEM-BSC (0.50 [95% CI: 0.27-0.95], p = 0.031) respectively.

Interpretation: Although stopped prematurely, this randomized trial provides at first time evidence for the benefit of second-line chemotherapy as compared to BSC alone for patients with APC. OFF significantly prolonged survival time compared to BSC alone after failure of first-line therapy with gemcitabine.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxycytidine / therapeutic use
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage*
  • Gemcitabine
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Leucovorin / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / administration & dosage*
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Leucovorin
  • Fluorouracil
  • Gemcitabine