A trial comparing nilotinib with imatinib for advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumours

Cancer type:

Soft tissue sarcoma




Phase 3

This trial was comparing 2 drugs called nilotinib and imatinib for gastrointestinal stromal tumours that couldn't be completely removed with surgery, or had spread to other parts of the body. A gastrointestinal tumour (GIST) is a rare type of soft tissue sarcoma found in the digestive system, most often in the wall of the stomach.

Most people who have a GIST have surgery to remove it and this may cure it completely. But sometimes the cancer will begin to grow again. It may come back in the same place, or it may start to grow somewhere else, such as in the liver.

People who have a GIST that cannot be completely removed with surgery may have treatment with imatinib. This is a type of biological therapy called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). TKIs work by blocking a chemical (an enzyme) that cancer cells need in order to grow and divide.

In this trial, researchers compared imatinib with another TKI called nilotinib (also called Tasigna). They wanted to see if nilotinib helped people with a GIST more than imatinib. The main aims of the trial were to

  • Find out which drug was best at stopping or delaying the cancer coming back
  • Learn more about the side effects

Summary of results

This trial was stopped because researchers analysed some of the early results and could see it was very unlikely to show that nilotinib worked as well as, or better than, imatinib in treating gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST).

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

Professor Ian Judson

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 5009

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

Wendy took part in a new trial studying the possible side effect of hearing loss

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"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”

Last reviewed:

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