FOLFIRINOX after first-line gemcitabine-based chemotherapy in advanced pancreatic cancer: a retrospective comparison with FOLFOX and FOLFIRI schedules

Ther Adv Med Oncol. 2020 Sep 29:12:1758835920947970. doi: 10.1177/1758835920947970. eCollection 2020.


Background: Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death. In cases with metastasis, the combination of 5-fluorouracil, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin (FOLFIRINOX) or gemcitabine-based chemotherapy regimens are considered the standard of care. However, the optimal sequence of these regimens is unclear.

Methods: This retrospective study initially evaluated 186 patients with locally advanced/metastatic pancreatic cancer at three Italian institutions between February 2013 and October 2019. All patients had progressed after receiving gemcitabine-based first-line chemotherapy and were subsequently offered second-line FOLFIRINOX, FOLFOX-6, or FOLFIRI treatment. This study evaluated progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival from the start of second-line treatment (OS2), overall survival from the start of first-line treatment (OS1), and safety outcomes.

Results: A total of 77 patients received ⩾4 cycles of second-line chemotherapy and were considered eligible: 15 patients received FOLFIRINOX, 32 patients received FOLFOX-6, and 30 patients received FOLFIRI. The FOLFIRINOX group had median PFS of 26.29 weeks and median OS2 of 47.86 weeks, while the FOLFIRI group had median PFS of 10.57 weeks and median OS2 of 25.00 weeks (p = 0.038). No significant differences were observed between the FOLFIRINOX and FOLFOX-6 groups in terms of PFS (26.29 weeks versus 23.07 weeks) or OS2 (47.86 weeks versus 42.00 weeks). The most common grade 3-4 toxicities were anemia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia, which occurred more frequently in the FOLFIRINOX and FOLFOX-6 groups.

Conclusion: Relative to the FOLFIRI regimen, the FOLFIRINOX regimen had a favorable toxicity profile and better survival outcomes. No significant differences were observed relative to the FOLFOX-6 regimen.

Keywords: FOLFIRINOX; gemcitabine; pancreatic adenocarcinoma; safety; second line.