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N Engl J Med. 2018 Dec 20;379(25):2395-2406. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1809775.

FOLFIRINOX or Gemcitabine as Adjuvant Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer.

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From the Institut de Cancérologie de Lorraine and Université de Lorraine (T.C.) and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (L.C.), Nancy, Hôpital Beaujon and University Paris VII, Clichy (P.H., A.S.), Hôpital Huriez, Lille (M.H.), Centre Paul Strauss, Strasbourg (M.B.A.), Institut Paoli-Calmettes, Marseille (J.-L.R.), Centre Antoine-Lacassagne, Nice (E.F.), Hôpital Jean-Mermoz, Lyon (P.A.), Hôpital Trousseau, Tours (T.L.), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Saint-Eloi (E.A.) and Institut du Cancer de Montpellier-Val d'Aurelle, Université de Montpellier (M.Y., S.G., F.C.), Montpellier, Centre Hospitalier Départemental Vendée, La Roche-sur-Yon (R.F.), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Robert Debré, Reims (J.V.), Hôpital Louis Pasteur, Colmar (G.B.), Normandie University, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen (F.D.F.), Hôpital Layné, Mont-de-Marsan (P.T.), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Côte de Nacre, Caen (K.B.-L.), Hôpital Saint-Jean, Perpignan (F.K.-A.), Centre Hospitalier Régional, Orléans (J.-L.L.), R&D Unicancer (B.J., C.J.-Z.) and Sorbonne Université, Hôpitaux Universitaires Pitié-Salpétrière, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (J.-B.B.), Paris, Gustave Roussy, Université Paris-Saclay, Villejuif (D.M.), and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Dijon (P.R.) - all in France; and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto (A.C.W.), Kingston General Hospital (J.J.B.) and the Canadian Cancer Trials Group, Queen's University (C.J.O.), Kingston, ON, the Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ottawa (C.C.), and Segal Cancer Centre, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal (P.K.) - all in Canada.



Among patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer, combination chemotherapy with fluorouracil, leucovorin, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin (FOLFIRINOX) leads to longer overall survival than gemcitabine therapy. We compared the efficacy and safety of a modified FOLFIRINOX regimen with gemcitabine as adjuvant therapy in patients with resected pancreatic cancer.


We randomly assigned 493 patients with resected pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma to receive a modified FOLFIRINOX regimen (oxaliplatin [85 mg per square meter of body-surface area], irinotecan [180 mg per square meter, reduced to 150 mg per square meter after a protocol-specified safety analysis], leucovorin [400 mg per square meter], and fluorouracil [2400 mg per square meter] every 2 weeks) or gemcitabine (1000 mg per square meter on days 1, 8, and 15 every 4 weeks) for 24 weeks. The primary end point was disease-free survival. Secondary end points included overall survival and safety.


At a median follow-up of 33.6 months, the median disease-free survival was 21.6 months in the modified-FOLFIRINOX group and 12.8 months in the gemcitabine group (stratified hazard ratio for cancer-related event, second cancer, or death, 0.58; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.46 to 0.73; P<0.001). The disease-free survival rate at 3 years was 39.7% in the modified-FOLFIRINOX group and 21.4% in the gemcitabine group. The median overall survival was 54.4 months in the modified-FOLFIRINOX group and 35.0 months in the gemcitabine group (stratified hazard ratio for death, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.48 to 0.86; P=0.003). The overall survival rate at 3 years was 63.4% in the modified-FOLFIRINOX group and 48.6% in the gemcitabine group. Adverse events of grade 3 or 4 occurred in 75.9% of the patients in the modified-FOLFIRINOX group and in 52.9% of those in the gemcitabine group. One patient in the gemcitabine group died from toxic effects (interstitial pneumonitis).


Adjuvant therapy with a modified FOLFIRINOX regimen led to significantly longer survival than gemcitabine among patients with resected pancreatic cancer, at the expense of a higher incidence of toxic effects. (Funded by R&D Unicancer and others; number, NCT01526135 ; EudraCT number, 2011-002026-52 .).

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