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 imatinib for melanoma of the eye that has spread (ITEM)
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.
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 –
- 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 (
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.
Dr Ernie Marshall
Cancer Research UK
Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/07/042.