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Patients with advanced pancreatic cancer failing gemcitabine-based first-line chemotherapy are still in relatively good clinical conditions and may still require second-line chemotherapy, which is frequently administered in daily clinical practice given to without solid scientific support.A retrospective survey was carried out including 40 patients with stage III or IV gemcitabine-refractory pancreatic carcinoma. Patients received standard FOLFIRI regimen biweekly until progression or unacceptable toxicity. Response evaluation criteria in solid tumors and National Cancer Institute common toxicity criteria were employed respectively for response and toxicity assessment.Six partial responses (15%) and 14 stabilizations of disease (35%) were recorded for a tumor growth control rate of 50%. The median time to progression was 3.7 (range, 1–6.5 months), and median overall survival was 6 months (range, 2–8.2 months). A stabilization of performance status and a subjective improvement of cancer-related symptoms were recorded in 21 patients (52.5%). No correlation has been found between length of time to progression during first-line chemotherapy and length of that reported in the second-line setting or objective response. Grade 3–4 diarrhea and mucositis was observed in 15% and 10% of cases, respectively.Data presented in this article demonstrate that the second-line FOLFIRI regimen are able to induce an objective response in a relatively small fraction of patients with gemcitabine-refractory adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. The use of second-line chemotherapy should be carefully proposed to patients with good performance status or those who had a good response to first-line therapy.