Nivolumab in Combination with Irinotecan and 5-Fluorouracil (FOLFIRI) for Refractory Advanced Gastroesophageal Cancer

Jane E. Rogers, Lianchun Xiao, Allison Trail, Mariela Blum Murphy, Melissa Palmer, Jaffer A. Ajani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: Advanced unresectable gastroesophageal cancers continue to confer a dismal patient prognosis. Limited options remain once the cancer is refractory to cytotoxics/biologics (like irinotecan, taxane, and ramucirumab). Recently, anti-programmed death-1 (anti-PD-1) inhibitors have been used with limited efficacy in select patients with adenocarcinoma. Similarly, irinotecan-based therapy has marginal efficacy. We combined irinotecan plus a fluoropyrimidine with an anti-PD-1 antibody, nivolumab, with hopes of having a higher advantage for patients. Objectives: Primary objective was to assess safety judged by toxicities, dose delays, or dose reductions. Secondary endpoints included the assessment of response, overall survival (OS), and progression-free survival (PFS). Methods: We treated 15 patients with this combination during July 2017 to April 2019. Patients were included if they had follow-up at our institution. Results: Median doses given were nivolumab 240 mg + irinotecan 120 mg/msup2/ + 5-FU 2,000 mg/m2 over 46-48 h (or capecitabine 1,250 mg/m2/day; 7 days on, 7 days off) given every 2 weeks. Median age of the patients was 55 years, and all patients had an ECOG performance status of 0-1. The patients had a median of 1 prior therapy. Slightly over half of the patients had PD-L1 expression. The median number of cycles was 7. Five patients (33%) had a dose delay or dose adjustment. The most common reason for dose delay or adjustment was grade 2 fatigue. Disease control (response or stability) on first scan was 73.3% (n = 11). Median PFS and OS for the entire group was 7 and 13.3 months, respectively. Conclusion: In this small cohort of patients, we conclude that this combination is quite feasible and resulted in prolonged stability in some patients. Further development of this regimen is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-294
Number of pages6
JournalOncology (Switzerland)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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