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JAMA. 2008 Mar 5;299(9):1019-26. doi: 10.1001/jama.299.9.1019.

Fluorouracil vs gemcitabine chemotherapy before and after fluorouracil-based chemoradiation following resection of pancreatic adenocarcinoma: a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore 21030, USA. wregine@umm.edu

Erratum in

  • JAMA. 2008 Apr 23/30;299(16):1902.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Among patients with locally advanced metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma, gemcitabine has been shown to improve outcomes compared with fluorouracil.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine if the addition of gemcitabine to adjuvant fluorouracil chemoradiation (chemotherapy plus radiation) improves survival for patients with resected pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:

Randomized controlled phase 3 trial of patients with complete gross total resection of pancreatic adenocarcinoma and no prior radiation or chemotherapy enrolled between July 1998 and July 2002 with follow-up through August 18, 2006, at 164 US and Canadian institutions.

INTERVENTION:

Chemotherapy with either fluorouracil (continuous infusion of 250 mg/m2 per day; n = 230) or gemcitabine (30-minute infusion of 1000 mg/m2 once per week; n = 221) for 3 weeks prior to chemoradiation therapy and for 12 weeks after chemoradiation therapy. Chemoradiation with a continuous infusion of fluorouracil (250 mg/m2 per day) was the same for all patients (50.4 Gy).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Survival for all patients and survival for patients with pancreatic head tumors were the primary end points. Secondary end points included toxicity.

RESULTS:

A total of 451 patients were randomized, eligible, and analyzable. Patients with pancreatic head tumors (n = 388) had a median survival of 20.5 months and a 3-year survival of 31% in the gemcitabine group vs a median survival of 16.9 months and a 3-year survival of 22% in the fluorouracil group (hazard ratio, 0.82 [95% confidence interval, 0.65-1.03]; P = .09). The treatment effect was strengthened on multivariate analysis (hazard ratio, 0.80 [95% confidence interval, 0.63-1.00]; P = .05). Grade 4 hematologic toxicity was 1% in the fluorouracil group and 14% in the gemcitabine group (P < .001) without a difference in febrile neutropenia or infection. There were no differences in the ability to complete chemotherapy or radiation therapy (>85%).

CONCLUSIONS:

The addition of gemcitabine to adjuvant fluorouracil-based chemoradiation was associated with a survival benefit for patients with resected pancreatic cancer, although this improvement was not statistically significant.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00003216.

Comment in

PMID:
18319412
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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