At the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago June 4-8, 2010, exciting results in the treatment of pancreatic cancer were revealed, describing the first positive Phase III clinical trial since 2005.
As reported by the French doctors who conducted the study, metastatic pancreatic cancer patients were treated with a chemotherapy regimen called FOLFIRINOX, consisting of the drugs 5-FU, leucovorin, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin. Patients who received the FOLFIRINOX regimen were compared to patients treated with the standard of care, gemcitabine alone. In order to be eligible for this study, patients had to have pancreatic cancer with metastases (distant spread), be of adequate health and strength (performance status 0 or 1), and not have received previous treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. 342 patients were enrolled in this study.
The very promising results of this trial showed that patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer treated with FOLFIRINOX survived 11.1 months on average, compared to 6.8 months for those treated with gemcitabine alone.
Patients treated with FOLFIRINOX experienced worse side effects than those treated with gemcitabine, but the toxicities were manageable, and did not interfere with the administration of treatment. Side effects associated with the FOLFIRINOX regimen included low white blood cell count (neutropenia), fever with low white blood cell count (febrile neutropenia), low platelet count (thrombocytopenia), vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea, and numbness or pain in the hands and feet known as peripheral neuropathy.
These results suggest that FOLFIRINOX is a treatment regimen that may be considered for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer who are healthy enough to withstand potential side effects.
For more information about treatment options in pancreatic cancer, including clinical trials, contact our PanCAN Patient Services program at 877-272-6226 or by completing our contact form.