Metastatic Pancreatic Carcinoma and Experience with FOLFIRINOX - a Cross Sectional Analysis From a Developing Country

  • Published : 2015.09.02


Background: Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related death with median survival ranging from 3 to 6 months for metastatic disease. Palliative chemotherapy has been the backbone of treatment in advanced stage and has evolved over time. Data pertaining to the disease are scarce from our part of the world where treatment poses a significant challenge due to lack of resources. Materials and Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed for all patients presenting with stage IV pancreatic carcinoma at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan between January 2008 and December 2012. Data were collected using a pre-designed, coded questionnaire looking at patient characteristics, treatment given and outcome. Results: 101 patients were found to be eligible. Mean age was $56.7{\pm}12.8years$, the male to female ratio was 2:1 and most patients had a good performance status. More than half of the tumors were located in the head (57%, n=58) and almost all were adenocarcinomas (95%, n=96). Some 58% (n=59) received first line chemotherapy of which 49% (n=29) received gemcitabine-based regimens and 39% (n=23) received FOLFIRINOX. The median progression free survival for gemcitabine based treatment was 2.9 months (IQR=1.6-5.6) as opposed to 7.3 months (IQR=4.5-9.2) for FOLFIRINOX (P=0.02). Median overall survival was 4.9 months (IQR=2.3-9.5) for first line gemcitabine based treatment and 10.5 months (IQR=7.0-13.2) for first line FOLFIRINOX therapy (P=0.002). Patients on FOLFIRINOX had better survival across all subgroups. Inpatient admissions and dose reductions were more frequent with FOLFIRINOX but the difference between the two regimens was not statistically significant. FOLFIRINOX could be successfully administered as outpatient therapy to a number of patients. Conclusions: FOLFIRINOX remains a suitable first line option in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer with good performance status even in a resource-poor country where diagnostic and supportive care facilities may be less than optimal and cost is a limitation.


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