Comparison of Temozolomide-Capecitabine to 5-Fluorouracile-Dacarbazine in 247 Patients with Advanced Digestive Neuroendocrine Tumors Using Propensity Score Analyses

Neuroendocrinology. 2019;108(4):343-353. doi: 10.1159/000498887. Epub 2019 Feb 13.


Introduction: Although chemotherapy combining 5-fluorouracil (5FU)-dacarbazine (DTIC) or temozolomide (TEM)-capecitabine (CAP) is extensively used in patients with neuroendocrine tumors (NET), they were never compared. We compared their tolerance and efficacy in advanced NET.

Methods: We evaluated the records of consecutive patients with pancreatic or small-intestine advanced NET who received 5FU-DTIC or TEM-CAP between July 2004 and December 2017 in 5 French centers. Tolerance, tumor response and progression-free survival (PFS) were compared. Factors associated with PFS were analyzed using Cox multivariate regression model. To reduce the confounding bias of the nonrandomized design, PFS was compared using propensity score analyses.

Results: Ninety-four (5FU-DTIC) patients and 153 (TEM-CAP) patients were included. Pancreatic NET represented 82.3% of cases and 17.1, 61.8 and 10.9% of patients had G1, G2 or G3 NET respectively. Progression at baseline was reported in 92.7% of patients with available data. Grades 3-4 adverse events occurred in 24.7 and 8.5% of TEM-CAP and 5FU-DTIC patients respectively (p = 0.002). The overall response rate was 38.3 and 39.2% respectively (p = 0.596). Median PFS on raw analysis was similar to 5FU-DTIC and TEM-CAP (13.9 vs. 18.3 months, respectively p = 0.86). TEM-CAP was associated with an increased risk of progression on the raw multivariate analysis (hazard ratio [HR] 1.90, 95% CI [1.32-2.73], p = 0.001) and when adjusted on propensity score (HR 1.65, 95% CI [1.18-2.31], p = 0.004).

Conclusion: PFS may be longer with 5FU-DTIC than TEM-CAP in patients with advanced NET. Although patients often prefer oral chemotherapy, 5FU-DTIC is a relevant alternative. A randomized comparison is needed to confirm these results.

Keywords: Carcinoid; Chemotherapy; Dacarbazine; Metastases; Neuroendocrine tumor; Pancreas; Small-intestine; Temozolomide.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Capecitabine / therapeutic use*
  • Dacarbazine / therapeutic use*
  • Digestive System Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / drug therapy*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Propensity Score
  • Temozolomide / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Capecitabine
  • Dacarbazine
  • Temozolomide