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 trial comparing the length of time spent in hospital for 2 different chemotherapy treatments for non small cell lung cancer (GEM hospitalisation)
Chemotherapy is sometimes used to treat people who have non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Doctors usually use cisplatin or carboplatin because studies have shown that these drugs can shrink the cancer and relieve symptoms.
Early trials also showed that cisplatin or carboplatin given with a newer drug called gemcitabine may work better. As well as improving treatment, doctors want to develop treatments that cause fewer side effects and limit the time people spend in hospital.
This trial compared gemcitabine and cisplatin with gemcitabine and carboplatin. The aims of this trial were to see which combination
- Needed the least number of hospital admissions
- Worked best
- Had the least side effects
Summary of results
The trial team found that there was not much difference between the 2 combinations.
Of the 401 people recruited to take part in this trial, the researchers were able to look at the results of 381. Of these 381 people
- 191 had gemcitabine and cisplatin
- 190 had gemcitabine and carboplatin
The number of overnight stays in hospital to have chemotherapy for each group was about the same. But for those who had gemcitabine and carboplatin the number of stays in hospital to treat side effects from chemotherapy was significantly more.
For each group the average time people lived after treatment was about 10 months.
The main side effects people had in the gemcitabine and carboplatin group were
The main side effect people had in the gemcitabine and cisplatin group was numbness or tingling in the hands or feet –
The research team concluded that there was no significant difference between having cisplatin with gemcitabine and having carboplatin with gemcitabine. Cisplatin and gemcitabine is well tolerated and safe to treat people with NSCLC without the need for extra stays in hospital.
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 Nick Thatcher
Eli Lilly and Company Limited
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust