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World J Gastroenterol. 2012 Mar 28;18(12):1357-64. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i12.1357.

Second-line therapy for gemcitabine-pretreated advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer.

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  • 1Oncology and Digestive Endoscopy Department of the CRLC Val d'Aurelle, 34000 Montpellier, France.



To investigate second-line chemotherapy in gemcitabine-pretreated patients with advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer [(frequency, response, outcome, course of carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9)].


This retrospective study included all patients with advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer (adenocarcinoma or carcinoma) treated with second-line chemotherapy in our center between 2000 and 2008. All patients received first-line chemotherapy with gemcitabine, and prior surgery or radiotherapy was permitted. We analyzed each chemotherapy protocol for second-line treatment, the number of cycles and the type of combination used. The primary endpoint was overall survival. Secondary endpoints included progression-free survival, response rate, grade 3-4 toxicity, dosage modifications and CA 19-9 course.


A total of eighty patients (38%) underwent a second-line therapy among 206 patients who had initially received first-line treatment with a gemcitabine-based regimen. Median number of cycles was 4 (range: 1-12) and the median duration of treatment was 2.6 mo (range: 0.3-7.4). The overall disease control rate was 40.0%. The median overall survival and progression-free survival from the start of second-line therapy were 5.8 (95% CI: 4.1-6.6) and 3.4 mo (95% CI: 2.4-4.2), respectively. Toxicity was generally acceptable. Median overall survival of patients with a CA 19-9 level declining by more than 20% was 10.3 mo (95% CI: 4.5-11.6) vs 5.2 mo (95% CI: 4.0-6.4) for others (P = 0.008).


A large proportion of patients could benefit from second-line therapy, and CA 19-9 allows efficient treatment monitoring both in first and second-line chemotherapy.


Carbohydrate antigen 19-9; Chemotherapy; Gemcitabine; Pancreatic cancer; Second-line

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