A trial looking at ranibizumab for eye cancer (NITRO)

Cancer type:





Phase 2

This trial looked at a new drug called ranibizumab for a type of eye cancer called uveal melanoma.

Cancer Research UK supported this trial.

More about this trial

Uveal melanoma can be treated with surgery, radiotherapy or both. If possible, doctors remove only part of the eye to save your sight. But if the cancer is too big they remove the whole eye. This is called enucleation.  

Ranibizumab (also called Lucentis) is a type of biological therapy called a monoclonal antibody. It works by targeting a protein on the cancer cells called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF Open a glossary item).

Researchers know from laboratory studies Open a glossary item that blocking VEGF shrinks other types of cancer. In this study, they wanted to find out if ranibizumab could shrink uveal melanoma.

The aim of this trial was to find out how well ranibizumab worked as a treatment to avoid removal of the eye. 

Summary of results

The research team concluded that ranibizumab isn’t useful for people with uveal melanoma.

The trial team hoped that around 14 people would take part. But it took longer than expected to find people to take part. The trial was stopped after 7 people had joined.

Of these 7 people:

  • 1 person didn’t attend the hospital visits as planned
  • 1 person didn’t want to have ranibizumab
  • 5 people had ranibizumab as an injection into the eye

Researchers looked at how well the 5 people who had ranibizumab did. They found that ranibizumab did not shrink their cancer. Everybody went on to have surgery to remove the eye (enucleation).

The study team think it’s not useful to do more trials using drugs that target the protein VEGF (such as ranibizumab) in people with uveal melanoma.

We have based this summary on information from the research team.  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 research 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 Heinrich Heimann

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Cancer Research Network: Cancer
Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital
The University of Liverpool Cancer Trials Unit

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/10/032.

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

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