Docetaxel and irinotecan as second-line therapy for advanced oesophagogastric cancer

Eliza Hawkes, Alicia F.C. Okines, Demetris Papamichael, Sheela Rao, Sue Ashley, Haris Charalambous, Alona Koukouma, Ian Chau, David Cunningham

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Introduction: Systemic chemotherapy improves survival in oesophagogastric cancer however no standard second-line regimen exists due to a paucity of randomised data. Docetaxel combined with irinotecan (DI) provides a suitable option due to the lack of cross-reactivity with first-line therapeutics and a tolerable toxicity profile. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed a cohort of patients with advanced oesophagogastric cancer in two institutions treated with the combination of docetaxel 35 mg/m 2 plus irinotecan 60 mg/m 2 day 1 and day 8 every 21 days, following progression with first-line platinum-based therapy. Results: Between January 2000 and September 2009, 41 eligible patients were identified. Median age was 58 years, male:female 25:16, adenocarcinoma:squamous cell carcinoma 37:4, oesophageal: oesophagogastric junction:gastric 7:10:24. Locally advanced:metastatic disease 6:35. Previous radical surgery:radiotherapy:both 6:4:7. 27/41 had progressed within 90 days of receiving platinum-based therapy. Median number of chemotherapy cycles: 3 (range 1-12). Eight patients required dose reductions due to DI toxicity. 10/28 evaluable patients had a response, median progression-free survival (PFS) was 11 weeks (95% confidence intervals (CI): 9-13 weeks) with median overall survival 24 weeks (95%CI: 12-35 weeks). No significant prognostic factors were identified. Conclusion: Weekly docetaxel combined with irinotecan has acceptable safety and modest efficacy in the second-line treatment of advanced oesophagogastric cancer. Further prospective evaluation of this regimen is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1146-1151
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemotherapy
  • Docetaxel
  • Irinotecan
  • Oesophagogastric cancer
  • Second-line

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