A trial comparing gemcitabine and docetaxel with doxorubicin for soft tissue sarcomas (GeDDiS)

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Children's cancers
Soft tissue sarcoma




Phase 3

This trial is looking at having either doxorubicin or a combination of 2 drugs called docetaxel, and gemcitabine as the first treatment for advanced soft tissue sarcoma. It is for people who have sarcoma that has spread into surrounding body tissue, or to other parts of the body. This trial is supported by Cancer Research UK.

This trial is for children over the age of 13 as well as adults. We use the term ‘you’ in this summary, but if you are a parent, we are referring to your child.

Doctors usually treat soft tissue sarcoma with chemotherapy. The drug they most often use is called doxorubicin. This is the standard treatment Open a glossary item.

We know from research that having 2 chemotherapy drugs called docetaxel and gemcitabine can help people with soft tissue sarcoma. But in this trial, the researchers want to find out if this combination of drugs works better than the standard treatment.

The aims of the trial are to

  • Find out if this combination of drugs works better than the standard treatment for soft tissue sarcoma that has spread
  • Learn more about the side effects

Who can enter

You can enter this trial if you

  • Have soft tissue sarcoma that has spread into surrounding body tissue or to other parts of the body, and cannot be treated with surgery or radiotherapy
  • Have sarcoma that has grown in the last 6 months
  • Are well enough to be up and about for at least half the day (performance status 0, 1, or 2)
  • Have a tumour that can be seen on a CT scan or MRI scan
  • Are at least 13 years old
  • Have satisfactory blood test results
  • Have satisfactory results of a scan to see how well your heart is working (echocardiogram Open a glossary item or MUGA Open a glossary item)
  • Are willing to use reliable contraception during the trial and for 6 months after treatment if there is any chance that you or your partner could become pregnant

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Have one of the following rare types of sarcoma – alveolar soft part sarcoma, GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumour), Ewing’s sarcoma, alveolar or embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, desmoplastic small round cell tumour, extra-skeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma, dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, mixed mesodermal tumour/carcinosarcoma of the uterus, or a smooth muscle tumour of uncertain malignant potential (STUMP)
  • Have already had chemotherapy to treat soft tissue sarcoma
  • Have had doxorubicin to treat any other type of cancer in the past
  • Have sarcoma that has spread to the brain
  • Have any other serious medical conditions
  • Have an infection that cannot be controlled with medication
  • Have had another cancer in the last 3 years except for non melanoma skin cancer or carcinoma in situ Open a glossary item of the cervix, prostate or breast
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

This is a phase 3 trial. It will recruit about 250 people in the UK and other countries. This will take about 3 years.

It is a randomised trial.The people taking part will be put into 2 treatment groups by a computer. Neither you nor your doctor can decide which group you are in.

People in group 1 have doxorubicin through a drip into a vein once every 3 weeks. Each 3 week period is called a cycle of treatment.

People in group 2 also have chemotherapy through a drip into a vein in 3 week cycles of treatment. They have gemcitabine on day 1, then gemcitabine and docetaxel on day 8.

People in both groups have up to 6 cycles of treatment, lasting about 4 or 5 months in total.

You will also be asked to fill out a questionnaire before you start treatment, then after 12, 18, and 24 weeks. The questionnaire will ask about any side effects you have had and about how you have been feeling. This is called a quality of life study.

If you agree to take part in this study, the researchers will ask your permission to take an extra blood sample before you start treatment. You do not have to give this extra sample for research if you do not want to. You can still take part in the trial.

Hospital visits

You will see the doctors and have some tests before you start treatment. The tests may include

  • Blood tests
  • Physical examination
  • Heart ultrasound (echocardiogram Open a glossary item) or MUGA scan Open a glossary item
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan

On day 1of each treatment cycle you have

  • Blood tests
  • Physical examination
  • Chemotherapy

People in group 2 also have a blood test and chemotherapy on day 8 of each cycle. You will not need to stay in hospital overnight.

During the trial you have a CT scan about every 12 weeks until your disease starts to grow again.

When you finish treatment you will see the trial doctors again 6 weeks later and have a blood test. A member of the trial team will then phone you every 3 months to see how you are.

Side effects

The most common side effects of doxorubicin are

The most common side effects of gemcitabine and docetaxel are

  • Hair loss
  • A drop in blood cells
  • Skin rash

There is more information about doxorubicin, gemcitabine and docetaxel on CancerHelp UK.

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 Beatrice Seddon

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University College London (UCL)

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/10/004.

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 5089

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

Cara took part in a clinical trial

A picture of Cara

"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”

Last reviewed:

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