Liposomal irinotecan and 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin in older patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer - A subgroup analysis of the pivotal NAPOLI-1 trial

J Geriatr Oncol. 2019 May;10(3):427-435. doi: 10.1016/j.jgo.2019.02.011. Epub 2019 Mar 4.


Objectives: Pancreatic cancer is a highly lethal disease predominantly affecting older patients. Characterization of outcomes in these patients may help optimise treatment decisions. The global, phase 3 NAPOLI-1 trial (NCT01494506) demonstrated an overall survival (OS) benefit with liposomal irinotecan and 5-flurouracil/leucovorin (nal-IRI + 5-FU/LV) versus 5-FU/LV. This subgroup analysis explored impact of age on outcomes in NAPOLI-1 patients, and nal-IRI + 5-FU/LV efficacy and safety in older patients.

Materials and methods: This exploratory, post-hoc analysis of the NAPOLI-1 trial included patients aged ≥eighteen years (no upper limit) with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma that had progressed on gemcitabine-based therapy. Patients were stratified by age (cut-offs at 65, 70, and 75 years); OS and progression-free survival (PFS) were estimated by Kaplan-Meier analysis.

Results: Of 417 randomized patients, 192 (46%), 110 (26%) and 43 (10%) were aged ≥65, ≥70 and ≥ 75 years, respectively. Mortality risk and risk of disease progression were similar in older and younger patients independent of treatment (HRs for median [m]OS/mPFS comparisons were 0.88/0.95 [<65 versus ≥65 years], 0.89/0.88 [<70 versus ≥70 years] and 1.04/0.98 [<75 versus ≥75 years]; P > .25). Reduced mortality/morbidity risk with nal-IRI + 5-FU/LV in older subgroups was in line with the wider population. No additional toxicities with nal-IRI + 5-FU/LV were observed in older patients: 86% of patients ≥75 years versus 69% <75 years required a dose delay or reduction due to toxicities (43% versus 32% dose reductions).

Discussion: Results suggest that older patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma that progressed on prior gemcitabine-based treatment can benefit from second-line therapy, supporting nal-IRI + 5-FU/LV treatment in older patients.

Keywords: Liposomal irinotecan; Nal-IRI; Older patients; Pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage*
  • Fluorouracil / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Irinotecan / administration & dosage*
  • Irinotecan / adverse effects
  • Leucovorin / administration & dosage*
  • Leucovorin / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality


  • Irinotecan
  • Leucovorin
  • Fluorouracil

Associated data