Pooled efficacy analysis from a phase I–II study of biweekly irinotecan in combination with gemcitabine, 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin and cisplatin in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer

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Development of treatments to improve the outcomes achieved with single-agent gemcitabine therapy for metastatic pancreatic cancer remains a research priority. G-FLIP (gemcitabine, 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin and cisplatin) is a four-drug regimen designed to maximize sequence-dependent synergy, while attempting to minimize toxicity among the four drugs. The dose-limiting toxicities and maximum tolerated dose of irinotecan as part of the G-FLIP regimen have been published. For phase II testing, G-FLIP consisted of sequential gemcitabine 500 mg/m2 at a fixed rate of 10 mg/m2/min, irinotecan 120 mg/m2, bolus 5-fluorouracil 400 mg/m2 and leucovorin 300 mg, followed by a 24-h 5-fluorouracil infusion of 1500 mg/m2 on day 1 and cisplatin 35 mg/m2 on day 2. Cycles were repeated every 14 days. Thirty-three patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer (22 men and 11 women) were treated and 31 were evaluable. Median patient age was 63 years (range 44–78 years) and median Karnofsky performance status score was 70–80. Estimated median time to disease progression was 171 days (6.1 months) and Kaplan–Meir-estimated median overall survival was 229 days (8.1 months). Twelve- and 18-month survivals were 33 and 21%, respectively. As per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors criteria, 13 patients had stable disease, seven (22%) attained a partial response, and 10 (32%) had disease progression. One patient attained a complete response and two were not evaluable (one withdrew consent and one died suddenly, each after cycle 1). Treatment generally was well tolerated. Grade 3–4 toxicities/patient were thrombocytopenia (3.1%), leukopenia (15%), neutropenia (21%), neutropenic fever (3%), fatigue (18%) and thrombosis (12.5%). Common grade 1–2 toxicities per patient included nausea/vomiting (69%), diarrhea (45%), constipation (21%) and fatigue (39%). In conclusion, G-FLIP is a feasible outpatient regimen with acceptable toxicity for metastatic pancreatic cancer patients. Disease control rate (stable disease rate plus partial or complete responses) and 1-year survival outcomes are encouraging.

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