A trial looking at giving chemotherapy for cancer of the penis (Penile TPF)

Cancer type:

Penile cancer




Phase 2

This trial looked at the chemotherapy combination of docetaxel, cisplatin and fluorouracil for cancer of the penis. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.

Doctors often treat cancer of the penis with surgery. But it is not always possible to remove all the cancer. Doctors can use chemotherapy to shrink the cancer before surgery, or instead of surgery when it is too advanced for an operation.

One combination of chemotherapy used to treat penis cancer is cisplatin and fluorouracil (5FU). The researchers thought that adding another drug called docetaxel (to make a combination called TPF) may be better than cisplatin and 5FU. We have information about TPF chemotherapy.

The aims of this trial were to find out

  • How well the combination of cisplatin, 5FU and docetaxel worked for treating cancer of the penis
  • How well it shrank the cancer before surgery
  • How safe this combination of chemotherapy was
  • How acceptable this combination was to people with cancer of the penis

Summary of results

The trial team found that the combination of cisplatin, 5FU and docetaxel did not work as well as they had hoped in cancer of the penis.  

This was a phase 2 trial. It recruited 29 men. Everyone had cisplatin, 5FU and docetaxel.

Of these 29 men, the researchers were able to look at how well the cancer had responded in 26 men. At the end of study treatment they found that

  • 2 men had no sign of cancer– a complete response Open a glossary item
  • 8 men had cancer that had shrunk– a partial response Open a glossary item
  • 8 men had cancer that had stayed the same size – stable disease Open a glossary item
  • 6 men had cancer that had continued to grow
  • 2 men unfortunately died

After an average follow up of 14½ months, 14 men were still alive and for 12 of them there was no sign of their cancer.  

The most common side effects were

The trial team concluded that although the combination of docetaxel, 5FU and cisplatin didn’t work for most of the men, in the small number that it did there was a good response.

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

Dr Amit Bahl
Dr Steve Nicolson

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
Sanofi-Aventis (Supply of Docetaxel)
University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/09/001. 

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 1035

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

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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