Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A study looking at paclitaxel and saracatinib for ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer that has come back (SaPPrOC)
This trial looked at 2 drugs called saracatinib (pronounced sah-rah-cat-in-ib) and paclitaxel (pronounced pak-lit-axe-el) for ovarian cancer. It was for women whose ovarian cancer had come back despite having treatment with a platinum drug. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
The trial was for women with
These cancers are all treated in the same way, so when we use the term ovarian cancer in this summary, we are referring to all 3.
Doctors usually treat ovarian cancer with surgery and chemotherapy. The chemotherapy drugs most commonly used are
In this trial, doctors looked at a drug called saracatinib alongside a chemotherapy drug called paclitaxel (Taxol). Saracatinib is a type of biological therapy. Paclitaxel is a standard chemotherapy treatment for ovarian cancer when platinum dugs have stopped working.
The aims of this trial were to find out
- If paclitaxel alongside saracatinib can control the cancer for longer
- If the period of time since the women had last had paclitaxel affects how well the treatment works
- More about the side effects
Summary of results
The researchers found that the combination of saracatinib and weekly paclitaxel did not help women with ovarian cancer that had come back despite having treatment with a
107 women took part in this trial. Of those,
- 71 had paclitaxel once a week and saracatinib tablets
- 36 had paclitaxel once a week and dummy tablets (placebo)
Women in both groups started to take saracatinib or dummy tablets one week before starting the paclitaxel. They continued to take the tablets daily as long as the treatment was helping them.
6 months after treatment started the researchers looked to see
- How well the treatment was working
- Whose cancer had started to grow again
They found no difference between the 2 groups in either of these.
Side effects in the saracatinib group were more common and included tummy (abdominal) pain. Saracatinib also caused some more serious side effects including a drop in white blood cells causing an increased risk of infection.
The trial team concluded that saracatinib did not help paclitaxel to work better for this group of women. They also concluded that weekly paclitaxel works better when there has been a break of at least 6 months since previous treatment with paclitaxel.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Professor Iain McNeish
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University College London (UCL)
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/10/007.