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5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and irinotecan (FOLFIRI) as a third-line chemotherapy treatment in metastatic gastric cancer, after failure of fluoropyrimidine, platinum, anthracycline, and taxane

Gokmen Umut Erdem, Yakup Bozkaya, Nuriye Yildirim Ozdemir, Nebi Serkan Demirci, Ozan Yazici, Nurullah Zengin


Studies on the effects of third-line chemotherapy (CT) in advanced gastric cancer (GC) patients are still scarce. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the modified 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and irinotecan (mFOLFIRI) regimen as a third-line CT in metastatic GC patients, after failure of fluoropyrimidine, platinum, anthracycline, and taxane. After failure of first- and second-line therapies, 42 patients received third-line FOLFIRI (180 mg/m² irinotecan and 400 mg/m² leucovorin administered concomitantly as a 90-minute intravenous (IV) infusion on day 1, followed by a 400 mg/m² 5-fluorouracil IV bolus then 2600 mg/m² continuous infusion over 46 hours), between January 2009 and December 2015. FOLFIRI was administered for a median of 6 cycles (range 4-12 cycles). Eight patients achieved partial response, while 13 patients showed stable disease, resulting in the overall response rate (ORR) of 19% and disease control rate (DCR) of 50%. The most frequent grade 3-4 hematological and non-hematological toxicities were neutropenia (14.2%) and diarrhea (7.1%). The median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) from the start of third-line CT were 3.8 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.0-4.5) and 6.8 months (95% CI, 5.6-7.9), respectively. According to the multivariate analysis, two factors were independently predictive of the poor OS: >2 regions of metastasis (relative risk [RR], 2.6; 95% CI, 1.3-5.4) and a high level of carcinoembryonic antigen [CEA] (RR, 3.4; 95% CI, 1.6-7.4). In conclusion, FOLFIRI was well tolerated as third-line CT and showed promising PFS and OS in advanced GC patients, after failure of fluoropyrimidine, platinum, anthracycline, and taxane.


Chemotherapy; metastatic gastric cancer; modified FOLFIRI; third-line therapy; prognosis; 5-fluorouracil; leucovorin; irinotecan

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