Response and Survival Associated with First-line FOLFIRINOX vs Gemcitabine and nab-Paclitaxel Chemotherapy for Localized Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Giampaolo Perri, Laura Prakash, Wei Qiao, Gauri R. Varadhachary, Robert Wolff, David Fogelman, Michael Overman, Shubham Pant, Milind Javle, Eugene J. Koay, Joseph Herman, Michael Kim, Naruhiko Ikoma, Ching Wei Tzeng, Jeffrey E. Lee, Matthew H.G. Katz

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100 Scopus citations


Importance: Fluorouracil, leucovorin, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin (FOLFIRINOX) and gemcitabine plus nanoparticle albumin-bound (nab)-paclitaxel (GA) are first-line chemotherapy regimens for pancreatic cancer. Their relative efficacy in the setting of localized disease is unknown. Objective: To evaluate radiographic and serologic measures of responses associated with first-line chemotherapy with FOLFIRINOX or GA, and to determine the association between these drug regimens, putative measures of response, and survival. Design, Setting, and Participants: This case series assessed 485 consecutive patients who were diagnosed as having previously untreated localized pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2017, and who received at least 3 cycles of first-line chemotherapy with FOLFIRINOX or GA. The median (range) follow-up duration was 33 (2-28) months. Exposures: Administration of FOLFIRINOX (285 patients [59%]) or GA (200 patients [41%]) as first-line chemotherapy. Main Outcomes and Measures: Resection rate, radiographic metrics (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors [RECIST], version 1.1, and change in tumor volume or anatomic staging), a serologic metric (serum cancer antigen 19-9 level), and overall survival after administration of first-line chemotherapy. Results: In total, 485 patients (266 [55%] male) were included in the analysis. Patients treated with FOLFIRINOX were generally younger (median [range] age at diagnosis: 61 [30-81] vs 71 [36-89] years; P =.001) and had better performance status as indicated by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group scale (range 0-4, with lower numbers representing better performance) score of 2 or lower (274 patients [96%] vs 165 patients [82%] P =.001) but more invasive tumors than patients who received GA (91 [32%] vs 90 [45%] resectable tumors; P =.01). After propensity score matching to control for these biases, many objective serologic and radiographic metrics of response associated with administration of FOLFIRINOX or GA-including low rates of local tumor downstaging-did not differ. However, RECIST partial response was more common among patients treated with FOLFIRINOX (27 of 140 patients [19%]) than with GA (8 of 140 patients [6%]; P =.001). Moreover, (chemo)radiation (50% vs 34%; P =.001) was more commonly administered to and pancreatectomy (27% vs 16%; P =.01) was subsequently performed more frequently for patients initially treated with FOLFIRINOX. The overall survival duration of patients treated with either regimen was similar (hazard ratio, 1.48; 95% CI, 0.97-2.26; P =.07). Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort of patients with localized pancreatic adenocarcinoma who received FOLFIRINOX or GA as their first line of therapy, FOLFIRINOX was associated with higher rates of RECIST partial response and subsequent pancreatectomy than GA, but the overall survival associated with these regimens was similar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)832-839
Number of pages8
JournalJAMA Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Albumins/therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents/toxicity
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols/therapeutic use
  • CA-19-9 Antigen/blood
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal/diagnosis
  • Cohort Studies
  • Deoxycytidine/analogs & derivatives
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil/therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Irinotecan/therapeutic use
  • Leucovorin/therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxaliplatin/therapeutic use
  • Paclitaxel/therapeutic use
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms/diagnosis
  • Radiography
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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