A trial looking at imatinib for melanoma of the eye that has spread (ITEM)

Cancer type:

Eye cancer
Head and neck cancers




Phase 2

This trial looked at imatinib (Glivec) for a type of melanoma of the eye (uveal melanoma) that had spread to another part of the body and couldn’t be removed with an operation. This is called advanced melanoma of the eye. This trial was for people whose melanoma cells, had a large amount of a protein called c-kit. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.

Advanced melanoma of the eye can be difficult to treat. So doctors are always looking for new ways to improve treatment for this group of patients.

Imatinib is a type of biological therapy. It is a cancer growth blocker. It stops signals that cancer cells use to divide and grow.

Doctors thought that imatinib may have helped to slow cancer growth for people with advanced melanoma of the eye. But they weren’t sure.

The aims of the trial were to find out

  • How well imatinib worked for advanced melanoma of the eye
  • More about the side effects

Summary of results

The trial team found that imatinib didn’t help people with advanced melanoma whose melanoma cells had a large amount of the protein c-kit.  

This was a phase 2 trial. It recruited 25 people. Everyone had imatinib.

After an average follow up of 3 months, the researchers looked at how well the melanoma had responded. They found that for

  • 6 people the melanoma stayed the same – stable disease Open a glossary item
  • 14 people the melanoma had continued to grow

Unfortunately the remaining 5 people had died.

Overall the average amount of time that people lived was 7½ months.

The trial team concluded that imatinib didn’t help people with advanced melanoma of the eye.  

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial.  As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) or published in a medical journal yet. 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

Dr Ernie Marshall

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/07/042.

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle - 2432

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

A picture of Wendy

"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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