Neoadjuvant FOLFIRINOX for borderline resectable pancreas cancer: A new treatment paradigm?

Kathleen K. Christians, Susan Tsai, Anna Mahmoud, Paul Ritch, James P. Thomas, Lauren Wiebe, Tracy Kelly, Beth Erickson, Huamin Wang, Douglas B. Evans, Ben George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Background. Borderline resectable pancreatic cancer is best treated by multimodality therapy. FOLFIRINOX (5-fluorouracil, oxaliplatin, irinotecan, and leucovorin) tripled the response rate and significantly increased median survival for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer and shows promise for neoadjuvant use.Toxicity concerns prompteda careful analysis of our initial FOLFIRINOX experience. Methods. All patients diagnosed with borderline resectable, biopsy-proven pancreatic adenocarcinoma treated with neoadjuvant FOLFIRINOX between July 2010 and December 2012 were reviewed. Primary outcome was surgical resectability. Secondary outcomes were treatment-related toxicities and survival. Results. FOLFIRINOX followed by gemcitabine- or capecitabine- based chemoradiation was initiated in 18 patients. The most common grade 3 or 4 toxicities during chemotherapy were gastrointestinal, including nausea/emesis (n = 5), weight loss (n = 3) and diarrhea (n = 2), and hematologic (n = 2; neutropenia); five patients (36%) required a total of six admissions. Neoadjuvant therapy was completed in 15 of 18 patients (83%), and 12 (67%) underwent pancreatectomy (10 Whipple, 2 total pancreatectomy) including portal vein resection/reconstruction in 10 (83%). Disease progression precluded surgery in 6 of the 18 patients (33%). All 12 resected patients had negative (R0) margins. Only 2 of 12 (17%) were node positive (median node count: 26.5 [range: 15-39]). There were no in-hospital or 30-day mortalities and no clinical pancreatic leaksor reoperations. Of the 12 patients who completed all intended therapy, 7 (58.3%) are alive, including 5who have no evidence of disease (medianmonths from diagnosis: 22 months [range: 18-35 months). The six patients who did not complete all planned therapy are deceased (months from diagnosis: 6.9-17.5 months). Conclusion. FOLFIRINOX followed by chemoradiation as neoadjuvant therapy for borderline resectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma is safe, and our initial experience suggests favorable resection rates compared with previous reports in this highrisk patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-274
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


  • Borderline resectable pancreas cancer
  • Neoadjuvant therapy
  • Pancreatic adenocarcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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