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 blinatumomab for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia that has not responded to treatment or has come back after treatment
This trial looked at a drug called blinatumomab for people with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). It was for people whose leukaemia hadn’t responded to treatment or it had come back after treatment.
More about this trial
Doctors usually treat acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) with different chemotherapy drugs. Unfortunately, for some people, these may not work and the ALL continues to grow or comes back after treatment. In this trial, doctors wanted to find out if a drug called blinatumomab could help people in this situation.
The aims of this trial were to
- Find out how well blinatumomab works for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
- Learn more about the side effects
Summary of results
The trial team found that blinatumomab helped some people with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia that hadn’t responded to treatment or had come back.
189 people took part. Everyone had blinatumomab through a central line (a central venous catheter) into a vein in the chest. They had it through a pump. The pump gave a continuous dose of blinatumomab.
After 2 cycles of treatment, the researchers looked at how well blinatumomab had worked. They found that
- The leukaemia had completely disappeared in 63 people (they were in
- The leukaemia had disappeared in 18 people but blood tests showed levels of blood cells called
plateletsand white blood cellswere not back to normal
- The treatment didn’t work for 90 people
- They didn’t have the results for 18 people
Of the 81 people whose leukaemia had disappeared, 32 people (40%) went on to have a stem cell transplant.
The researchers followed up the people whose leukaemia had disappeared. After an average of about 9 months, just over 4 out of 10 people (45%) remained in remission.
The most common side effects of blinatumomab were
- High temperature (fever) due to a drop in the number of white blood cells
- A drop in
red blood cells
- Problems with the
central nervous systemsuch as tremors, dizziness or confusion
The trial team found that blinatumomab helped some people with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. They suggest that future research looks at having blinatumomab treatment earlier or in combination with other treatments.
We have based this summary on information from the research team. 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.
Dr Adele Fielding
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer