Purpose: To compare the quality of life (QoL) of patients receiving oxaliplatin, irinotecan, fluorouracil, and leucovorin (FOLFIRINOX) or gemcitabine as first-line chemotherapy and to assess whether pretreatment QoL predicts survival in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Patients and methods: Three hundred forty-two patients with performance status 0 or 1 were randomly assigned to receive FOLFIRINOX (oxaliplatin, 85 mg/m(2); irinotecan, 180 mg/m(2); leucovorin, 400 mg/m(2); and fluorouracil, 400 mg/m(2) bolus followed by 2,400 mg/m(2) 46-hour continuous infusion, once every 2 weeks) or gemcitabine 1,000 mg/m(2) weekly for 7 of 8 weeks and then weekly for 3 of 4 weeks. QoL was assessed using European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire C30 every 2 weeks.
Results: Improvement in global health status (GHS; P < .001) was observed in the FOLFIRINOX arm and improvement in emotional functioning (P < .001) was observed in both arms, along with a decrease in pain, insomnia, anorexia, and constipation in both arms. A significant increase in diarrhea was observed in the FOLFIRINOX arm during the first 2 months of chemotherapy. Time until definitive deterioration ≥ 20 points was significantly longer for FOLFIRINOX compared with gemcitabine for GHS, physical, role, cognitive, and social functioning, and six symptom domains (fatigue, nausea/vomiting, pain, dyspnea, anorexia, and constipation). Physical functioning, constipation, and dyspnea were independent significant prognostic factors for survival with treatment arm, age older than 65 years, and low serum albumin.
Conclusion: FOLFIRINOX significantly reduces QoL impairment compared with gemcitabine in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. Furthermore, baseline QoL scores improved estimation of survival probability when added to baseline clinical and demographic variables.