A trial looking at chemotherapy for advanced melanoma of the skin or eye

Cancer type:

Eye cancer
Head and neck cancers
Skin cancer




Phase 1

This trial looked at gemcitabine (Gemzar) and treosulfan  for melanoma that has spread (metastasized) and cannot be removed with an operation.

Advanced melanoma can be difficult to treat. Doctors can use chemotherapy but often it does not work very well. Treosulfan is usually used to treat other types of cancer. Gemcitabine and treosulfan together is a new and experimental combination of chemotherapy for advanced melanoma. Doctors wanted to see if it would work well for people with advanced melanoma.

The aims of the trial were to find out

  • The best dose of gemcitabine to give
  • More about the side effects
  • How well this combination worked for advanced melanoma

Summary of results

The research team concluded that gemcitabine and treousulfan together could possibly be useful for treating people with a specific type of advanced melanoma called melanoma of the eye (uveal melanoma). But there were only 5 people with eye melanoma in the trial so it was difficult for the researchers to be sure.

The trial recruited 27 patients with advanced melanoma. 22 had melanoma of the skin and 5 had melanoma of the eye. The results showed

  • The cancer did not go away completely (a ‘complete response Open a glossary item') in any patients
  • The cancer did not slow or stop growing enough to be classified as a ‘partial response Open a glossary item’ to treatment in any of the patients
  • In 2 people with melanoma of the eye, the cancer slowed or stopped growing a little (a ‘minor response’)
  • In 13 people the cancer remained the same (‘stable disease Open a glossary item’)
  • In 12 people the cancer continued to grow

The most common side effects were a drop in the number of blood cells feeling or being sick, skin rash and constipation.

The finding that this treatment might be useful for melanoma of the eye is supported by the results of other, similar clinical trials.

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 (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

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.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr P Corrie

Supported by

Addenbrooke's Charities Endowment Fund
Eli Lilly and Company Limited

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle - 131

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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