A trial looking at zalutumumab for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

Cancer type:

Head and neck cancers
Laryngeal cancer
Mouth (oral) cancer
Nasal and paranasal sinus cancer
Nasopharyngeal cancer
Pharyngeal cancer

Status:

Results

Phase:

Phase 3

This trial looked at zalutumumab for head and neck cancer that continued to grow or came back after chemotherapy with a platinum drug Open a glossary item.

Many head and neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. Squamous cells are the flat, skin like cells that cover the inside of the mouth, nose and throat. Carcinoma just means cancer. So squamous cell carcinoma is cancer that starts in these cells.

Zalutumumab is a type of biological therapy called a monoclonal antibody. It seeks out cancer cells by looking for a particular protein.

In this trial, the researchers wanted to find out if zalutumumab stopped or slowed down the growth of squamous cell carcinoma. And to see if it could improve quality of life Open a glossary item. The aims of the trial were to

  • See if zalutumumab helped people with head and neck cancer
  • Learn more about the side effects

Summary of results

The trial team found that zalutumumab increased the amount of time it took for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck to start growing again.  

This was an international phase 3 trial. It recruited 286 people. This was a randomised trial. The people taking part were put into 1 of 2 treatment groups

  • 191 had zalutumumab and best supportive care
  • 95 had best supportive care Open a glossary item

Overall the average amount of time people lived was

  • Just over 6½ months for those who had zalutumumab
  • Just over 5 months for those who didn’t have zalutumumab

6 months after treatment, 57 out of every 100 people (57%) who had zalutumumab were still alive. 42 out of every 100 people (42%) who didn’t have zalutumumab were still alive.  

The average length of time it took for the cancer to start growing again was

  • Just under 10 weeks for those who had zalutumumab
  • Just over 8 weeks for those who didn’t have zalutumumab

The most common side effects were

The trial team concluded that although zalutumumab didn’t increase the amount of time people lived, it did increase the amount of time it took for the cancer to start growing again.   

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

Prof Christopher Nutting

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Genmab
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

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Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

1172

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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