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

Journal Article (Clinical Trial, Phase III;Journal Article;Multicenter Study)

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.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Regine, WF; Winter, KA; Abrams, RA; Safran, H; Hoffman, JP; Konski, A; Benson, AB; Macdonald, JS; Kudrimoti, MR; Fromm, ML; Haddock, MG; Schaefer, P; Willett, CG; Rich, TA

Published Date

  • March 5, 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 299 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 1019 - 1026

PubMed ID

  • 18319412

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1538-3598

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1001/jama.299.9.1019


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States