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 pertuzumab and docetaxel for advanced cancer (BO17021)
This trial looked at pertuzumab (also called Omnitarg) and docetaxel for advanced cancer.
Pertuzumab is a monoclonal antibody. Monoclonal antibodies are a type of biological therapy. They look for specific proteins on the surface of cells. Pertuzumab looks for a protein called HER2, which is made by some cancers.
Docetaxel (Taxotere) is a chemotherapy drug that was already licensed in the UK to treat cancers such as breast, prostate, stomach, bladder and ovarian cancer.
Doctors hoped that the combination of pertuzumab and docetaxel would be useful for treating advanced solid tumours. A solid tumour is any cancer except lymphoma or leukaemia.
The aims of the trial were to find out
- How well the combination of pertuzumab and docetaxel worked
- The best dose of docetaxel to have with pertuzumab
- What the side effects were
Summary of results
The researchers found the best doses to safely give docetaxel and pertuzumab together. They found that this combination of drugs helped some people with advanced cancer.
The trial recruited 19 people. The first 3 people had a low dose of docetaxel and a single dose of pertuzumab. As none of these people had bad side effects, the next group of patients had a higher dose of docetaxel. By slowly increasing the dose for each group of people, the researchers found the best dose of docetaxel to give with pertuzumab. Then they changed the dose of pertuzumab to find the best dose of that drug to have at the same time as docetaxel without causing too many side effects.
The side effects that some people did have with the combination of these drugs included
The trial team also found that
- In 14 people, the cancer stopped growing after 2 cycles of treatment – researchers call this
- 9 people still had stable disease after 4 cycles of treatment
- In 1 person the cancer got smaller after 4 cycles of treatment – researchers call this a
As this trial found the doses at which it is safe to have the 2 drugs together, the researchers suggested there should be more trials to see how well this treatment works for different cancers.
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 (
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.
Prof Johann de Bono