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 looking at chemotherapy for advanced non small cell lung cancer (BTOG2)
This trial found out more about chemotherapy to treat non small cell lung cancer. The trial was open to people with non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that had spread. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
More about this trial
Many doctors use a particular dose of cisplatin. Research suggested that higher doses of this drug may be better at shrinking and controlling the cancer. One of the aims of this trial was to find out the best dose to use.
This trial also compared cisplatin with carboplatin, to see which worked best. Everyone in the trial also had another chemotherapy drug called gemcitabine. Trials have shown that gemcitabine combined with standard drugs can improve lung cancer treatment. So if you took part in this trial you either had
- Low dose cisplatin with gemcitabine
- High dose cisplatin with gemcitabine
- Carboplatin and gemcitabine
The researchers also wanted to find out how these different treatments affected
Summary of results
The trial team found that gemcitabine with carboplatin worked just as well as gemcitabine with the highest dose of cisplatin to treat advanced non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
This was a randomised trial . It recruited 1,363 people. They were put into 1 of 3 treatment groups and neither they nor their doctor could choose which group they were in.
- 454 people had low dose cisplatin and gemcitabine
- 456 people had high dose cisplatin and gemcitabine
- 453 people had carboplatin and gemcitabine
After an average follow up of 60 months the trial team looked at how many people’s lung cancer had responded to treatment. They found that
- 20 out of every 100 people (20%) responded low dose cisplatin
- 29 out of every 100 people (29%) responded high dose cisplatin
- 27 out of every 100 people (27%) responded carboplatin
The team then looked at the average length of time people lived after treatment. They found it was
- Just over 8 months for those who had low dose cisplatin
- 9½ months for those who had high dose cisplatin
- 10 months for those who had carboplatin
The team said that the differences between treatments seen in both these results are unlikely to have happened by chance and so they were
The trial team concluded that the combination of gemcitabine and carboplatin worked just as well as the combination of gemcitabine and high dose cisplatin for people with advanced non small cell lung cancer.
We have based this summary on information from the research team. 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 David R Ferry
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/04/009.