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 study looking at a drug called selumetinib with radiotherapy for non small cell lung cancer (MEKRT trial)
More about this trial
Radiotherapy is a treatment for people with either stage 3 or stage 4 NSCLC. You might have radiotherapy at the same time as chemotherapy to try to cure your cancer (chemoradiotherapy). Or you may have it on its own to control symptoms if the cancer is more advanced.
In this study, doctors wanted to improve treatment for people with either stage 3 or 4 NSCLC. They combined radiotherapy with a drug called selumetinib (also known as AZD6244).
Selumetinib is a targeted cancer drug called a cancer growth blocker. It works by blocking certain proteins that tell cancer cells to divide and grow. Doctors wanted to know if selumetinib can slow down the growth of the cancer and help radiotherapy work better.
The aim of this study was to find the dose of selumetinib that people with NSCLC can safely have with radiotherapy.
Summary of results
The study team found a dose of selumetinib that people can safely have with radiotherapy. But this treatment didn’t help people as well as doctors had hoped for.
This was a phase 1 trial. The following people took part:
- 16 people with stage 3 NSCLC that couldn’t have treatment with chemoradiotherapy
- 5 people with stage 4 NSCLC who had symptoms affecting their chest
Everyone had the same dose of selumetinib twice a day, for 7 days. Then they started radiotherapy with selumetinib. This continued for about 6 and a half weeks.
The trial team looked at the most common side effects people had. They were:
- skin rash
- red and sore skin
- feeling sick
- inflammation of the food pipe
Doctors also looked at the average amount of time people lived, after the start of treatment. This is called median survival. They found that on average, people lived for almost 10 months.
The trial team concluded that selumetinib with radiotherapy is a safe treatment. But this treatment doesn’t help people with either stage 3 or stage 4 NSCLC. The team doesn’t think more research should be done looking at this treatment.
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 (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Corinne Faivre-Finn
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
University of Manchester