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 elacytarabine for acute myeloid leukeamia (AML)
This study looked at a drug called elacytarabine for people with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). This study was for people with AML that had come back or did not respond to treatment in the first place. The doctors wanted to find out more about what happens to elacytarabine in the body.
Doctors usually treat AML with chemotherapy. The aim of chemotherapy is to get rid of the leukaemia. But for some people it doesn’t work, or the leukaemia comes back later on. If this happens it is more difficult to treat. So doctors are looking for new ways to help people in this situation. In this study they looked at a chemotherapy drug called elacytarabine.
The aims of this study were to find out
- If elacytarabine affects the heart
- More about the side effects
- If elacytarabine helps people with AML that did not respond to treatment or has come back afterwards
Summary of results
The researchers found that in this study, elacytarabine helped a small number of people with AML. And the effects it has on the heart weren’t serious. But when the researchers looked at the results of another trial of elacytarabine for AML, they found that it wasn’t a useful treatment after all.
43 people took part in this study. The study team found that elacytarabine did cause some very small changes to heart trace (
The main side effects were stomach problems such as feeling or being sick and a drop in blood cells causing an increased risk of infection, bleeding problems, tiredness and breathlessness.
The study team looked at how well the treatment worked. Of the 43 people who took part, they had the results for 36 people. They found that
- In 16 people the leukaemia went away completely
- In 20 people the leukaemia stayed the same
While the researchers were looking at the results of this study, a larger trial of elacytarabine finished. It compared elacytarabine with 1 of 7 usual treatments for AML. Unfortunately, the results of the larger elacytarabine trial showed that it was no better than any of the 7 usual AML treatments that people had had. So the researchers decided that elacytarabine was not a useful treatment for AML and wouldn’t be looked at in any further trials.
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
Dr Steven Knapper
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Theradex Europe Ltd