A trial looking at chemotherapy with or without panitumumab for advanced cancer of the food pipe (oesophagus) or stomach (REAL3)

Cancer type:

Oesophageal cancer
Stomach cancer

Status:

Results

Phase:

Phase 3

This trial looked at chemotherapy with or without panitumumab (Vectibix) for cancer of the oesophagus, stomach or cancer that started where the oesophagus meets the stomach. This is called gastro oesophageal junction cancer. The trial was for people with cancer that had spread into surrounding tissue or to another part of the body (advanced) and who were unable to have surgery. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.

Doctors often treat advanced cancers of the oesophagus and stomach with chemotherapy. One combination of drugs they use is called EOX. This is epirubicin, oxaliplatin and capecitabine. In this trial, doctors wanted to see if adding another drug, called panitumumab, was better than having chemotherapy on its own.

Panitumumab is a type of biological therapy called a monoclonal antibody. These can seek out cancer cells by looking for particular proteins. Doctors hoped that blocking these proteins would stop or slow down the growth of cancer cells.

The aims of this trial were to

  • Find out if adding panitumumab to chemotherapy for advanced oesophageal and stomach cancer was better than chemotherapy alone
  • Learn more about the side effects of panitumumab with this combination of chemotherapy drugs

Summary of results

When the trial team looked at the first results, they found that adding panitumumab to chemotherapy wasn’t any better. So they decided to stop recruiting and closed the trial earlier than they initially planned.

This was a phase 3 trial. It recruited 553 people. It was a randomised trial. The people who took part were put into 1 of 2 treatment groups

  • 275 people had EOX
  • 278 people had EOX and panitumumab

The researchers looked at CT scans to assess how well people responded to treatment. They were able to look at

  • 238 from the EOX group
  • 254 from the EOX and panitumumab group

Of the people in the EOX group they found that

  • 5 had no sign of their cancer – complete response Open a glossary item
  • 95 had cancer that had shrunk – partial response Open a glossary item
  • 51 had cancer that had stayed the same – stable disease Open a glossary item
  • 19 had cancer that had continued to grow

Of the people in the EOX and panitumumab group they found that

  • 8 had no sign of their cancer
  • 108 had cancer that had shrunk
  • 46 had cancer that had stayed the same
  • 30 had cancer that had continued to grow

68 people in the EOX group and 62 people in EOX and panitumumab group didn’t have a scan. This was for a variety of reasons, but was frequently due to the person becoming more unwell during treatment. In general, the trial team considered that these people had not benefited from treatment.

The average overall amount of time that people lived was

  • Just over 11 months for those who had EOX
  • Just under 9 months for those who had EOX and panitumumab

The researchers didn’t find a significant difference between the side effects of both groups. The most common side effects reported were

The trial team concluded that the addition of panitumumab to EOX didn’t increase the overall time that people with advanced cancer of the oesophagus and stomach lived.   

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

Professor David Cunningham

Supported by

Amgen
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKE/07/049.

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 1711

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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