A trial looking at carboplatin and etoposide with thalidomide for small cell lung cancer

Cancer type:

Lung cancer
Small cell lung cancer




Phase 2

This trial looked at adding thalidomide to carboplatin and etoposide. It was for people who had small cell lung cancer. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.

Thalidomide is a type of biological therapy. It stops the cancer forming new blood vessels. All cells need a blood supply to be able to grow.

Carboplatin and etoposide are types of chemotherapy. They are already used to treat small cell lung cancer.

The aims of this trial were to see

  • If the combination of carboplatin, etoposide and thalidomide is useful for treating small cell lung cancer
  • What the side effects are

Summary of results

This trial showed that adding thalidomide to carboplatin and etoposide could be useful for treating small cell lung cancer.

This was a small trial and recruited 25 people. Most of them had 6 cycles of treatment and then carried on taking thalidomide on its own to try and keep the cancer under control for longer (‘maintenance’ treatment).

The research team were able to analyse results of 24 patients. This showed that the cancer

  • Went away completely in 4 people
  • Shrank in another 13 people
  • Stayed the same in 6 people
  • Continued to grow in one person

The researchers also looked at how long the effect of treatment lasted, and found that 4 out of 10 people in the trial lived for more than a year.

The most common side effect was a drop in blood cells, causing tiredness, breathlessness, bleeding or bruising problems. But the side effects of having all 3 treatments were no worse than the side effects of just carboplatin and etoposide.

The research team have gone on to run a large phase 3 trial funded by Cancer Research UK. It is called the LLCG 12 trial and is comparing carboplatin and etoposide with carboplatin, etoposide and thalidomide. It finished recruiting patients in 2006.

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 Siow Ming Lee

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
London Lung Cancer Group
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/99/001.

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 187

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

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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