A trial looking at oxaliplatin and 5FU chemotherapy before surgery for cancer of the food pipe

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Oesophageal cancer




Phase 2

This trial is looking at a drug called oxaliplatin to shrink cancer of the food pipe (also called the oesophagus or gullet) before surgery.

Doctors normally treat cancer of the food pipe (oesophageal or gullet cancer) with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery. If the cancer hasn’t spread to other parts of the body (metastasised), you will have surgery to remove the cancer. Sometimes you may have chemotherapy to shrink the cancer before your operation. This is ‘neoadjuvant chemotherapy’.

Doctors usually use cisplatin and 5FU. But research has shown that another chemotherapy drug called oxaliplatin may be better than cisplatin. It works in the same way as cisplatin but has fewer side effects.

The aims of this trial are to find out

Who can enter

You can enter this trial if you

  • Have cancer of the food pipe that can be removed with surgery
  • Are due to have chemotherapy before your surgery
  • Have satisfactory blood test results
  • Are willing to use reliable contraception if there is a chance that you or your partner could become pregnant
  • Are 18 years or older

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Have already had chemotherapy for cancer of the food pipe
  • Are having treatment as part of another clinical trial
  • Have HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C
  • Have any other serious illness that may affect the study results
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

This is pilot study of a phase 2 trial. It will recruit 50 people as part of the pilot study. If the results are promising, it will go on to recruit more people in a full phase 2 trial.

Everyone taking part will have oxaliplatin and 5FU chemotherapy before their surgery. You will have 2 cycles of chemotherapy. Each cycle lasts for 3 weeks.

On the first day of each cycle you will have oxaliplatin as a drip into a vein through a central line called a PICC line. After that you have 5FU as a continuous infusion Open a glossary item for 4 days and nights. You have the 5FU through a small infusion pump that the nurse will connect to your PICC line, and you take home with you.

When the 5FU has finished, a nurse will disconnect your infusion pump and take a blood sample. You will then not have any more chemotherapy until the start of the second treatment cycle.

Hospital visits

Before you start the trial, you will see the doctor and have some tests. These tests include

  • Physical examination
  • Height, weight, blood pressure, temperature and pulse
  • Performance status
  • Blood tests
  • Urine test
  • Heart trace (ECG Open a glossary item)
  • Taking a small sample of tissue from your cancer (biopsy), if you haven’t had this done already
  • CT scan

You will see one of the trials team one week after you have your chemotherapy pump disconnected. They will check how you are getting on.

After both cycles you will see one of the trial team and have

  • A blood test
  • Physical examination
  • Weight, blood pressure, temperature and pulse check

Towards the end of the trial you will have another CT scan.

About 6 to 8 weeks after your chemotherapy has finished you will have your surgery. The research team will store and study samples of the cancer removed, as part of the trial.

Side effects

The most common side effects of oxaliplatin are

The most common side effects of 5FU are

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

Prof M Middleton

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Oxford Biomedica
Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle - 952

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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