We conducted a retrospective cohort study to compare 2 different chemotherapy regimens for advanced biliary tract cancer (BTC).
Records of patients consecutively treated in our institution for advanced BTC from 2001 to 2006 were retrieved. Chemotherapy treatment with FOLFOX-4 regimen was routinely offered as first option; gemcitabine (GEM) as single agent was proposed as an alternative option to patients who refused central venous catheter implantation. Toxicity, overall response rate, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) obtained with the 2 treatments were evaluated.
Twenty-two patients were treated with FOLFOX-4, whereas 18 patients received GEM. In the FOLFOX-4 group, the overall response rate was 13.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.7-33.3), with 1 complete response and 2 partial responses, and 54.5% (95% CI, 34.7-73.1) of disease control rate (complete response+partial response+stable disease). Median OS was 14.1 months (95% CI, 9.1-18.8) and median PFS 5.44 months (95% CI, 3.2-6.3). In the GEM group, we observed no objective response, whereas 27.7% (95% CI, 12.5-50.9) obtained disease control. Median OS was 8.3 months (95% CI, 4.7-12.9) and median PFS 3.9 months (95% CI, 2.2-5.4). Toxicity, mainly hematological, was acceptable for both treatments. On a multivariable Cox model including a propensity score, only the performance status and chemotherapy regimen were confirmed as strong predictors of OS, with an hazard ratio of 0.49 (95% CI, 0.24-0.99) in favor of FOLFOX-4.
The combination chemotherapy with oxaliplatin and 5-fluorouracil is well tolerated and seems to provide prolonged survival than GEM alone in advanced BTC treatment, but further randomized trials are warranted.