Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.
A trial of chemotherapy for advanced ovarian cancer and primary peritoneal cancer (ICON 5)
This trial was looking at different combinations of chemotherapy drugs for advanced epithelial ovarian cancer and primary peritoneal cancer.
Treatment for advanced ovarian cancer usually includes surgery and chemotherapy. Paclitaxel (Taxol) and carboplatin are 2 drugs that are often used. But researchers are always trying to find better treatments to control the cancer for longer.
In this trial, they looked at adding other drugs to paclitaxel and carboplatin. In total, they looked at 5 different combinations of chemotherapy drugs to see which was best.
The aim of the trial was to see if adding other drugs to paclitaxel and carboplatin helped women with advanced ovarian cancer or primary peritoneal cancer.
Summary of results
The researchers found that adding other drugs to paclitaxel and carboplatin did not help women to live longer or to stop cancer coming back.
The trial recruited 4,312 women who had stage 3 or 4 ovarian or peritoneal cancer. They were randomised to one of 5 treatment groups. The different treatments were
- Paclitaxel and carboplatin
- Paclitaxel, carboplatin and gemcitabine
- Paclitaxel, carboplatin and liposomal doxorubicin
- Topotecan and carboplatin followed by paclitaxel and carboplatin
- Gemcitabine and carboplatin followed by paclitaxel and carboplatin
Nearly 8 out of 10 women (79%) who took part completed 8 cycles of chemotherapy.
After an average follow up of more than 3 and a half years, the researchers found that none of the newer drug combinations worked any better than 8 cycles of paclitaxel and carboplatin.
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.
Dr Peter Harper
Medical Research Council (MRC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer