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 combretastatin and chemotherapy for advanced ovarian cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, and fallopian tube cancer (CA4P-UKCTC-207)
This trial looked at how well combretastatin (CA4P), carboplatin and paclitaxel (Taxol) worked together in women with advanced ovarian cancer, primary peritoneal cancer or fallopian tube cancer.
Doctors often treat ovarian cancer, primary peritoneal cancer or fallopian tube cancer with surgery and then chemotherapy. But sometimes the cancer comes back after this treatment. If that happens, it is usually more difficult to treat it successfully.
Doctors hoped that a new drug, given with chemotherapy, would be useful for treating women with ovarian and peritoneal cancer that was no longer responding to
Combretastatin is a new treatment. It causes the cells that line the cancer’s blood vessels (capillaries) to swell up. These swollen cells block the blood flow to the cancer cells. All cancers need a blood supply to get the oxygen and food they need to survive. Doctors hope that blocking the blood supply will stop cancers growing.
Summary of results
The trial team found that the combination of combretastatin, carboplatin and paclitaxel did not cause too severe side effects. These drugs also seemed to give a higher response rate than they were expecting for cancers that were no longer responding to platinum chemotherapy. By response, they mean the cancer had disappeared or shrunk by at least a third, or the level of
When the trial team presented some results at a cancer conference in 2009, the trial had recruited 44 women in total and they had the results for 34 of them. All women had combretastatin, carboplatin and paclitaxel chemotherapy.
The trial team found that out of 34 women, 11 cancers had responded to treatment. They were waiting for confirmation that 1 other cancer had shrunk by about a third or more (
The side effects included
- A drop in the number of white blood cells and platelets
- Tiredness (fatigue)
- Being sick
- Hair loss
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy)
- Problems with coordination or balance
The research team didn’t feel these side effects were much different to the standard treatment of carboplatin and paclitaxel.
The main side effect of combretastatin was high blood pressure, which was easily controlled with medication.
The trial team hope that larger trials in the future will show similar results.
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.
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)