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 comparing the same dose with an increasing dose of carboplatin for ovarian cancer (SCOTROC 4)
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This trial looked at increasing the dose of carboplatin to see if this would be helpful for treating ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
Most patients have the same dose of carboplatin throughout their course of treatment. This is called a ‘flat dose’. But some doctors give patients a higher dose each time they have it, if they didn’t have serious side effects from the dose before. This is called ‘intra patient dose escalation’. Nobody knew if increasing the dose was better than using the flat dose or not.
Increasing the dose is likely to cause more side effects. So it is important that patients do not have a higher dose if there is no extra benefit.
Summary of results
The trial team found that increasing the dose of carboplatin was feasible and safe. But it was no better than keeping the dose the same.
This was an international phase 3 trial. Of the 964 women recruited, the researchers were able to look at the results of 956. Of these
- 477 had the flat dose of carboplatin
- 479 had the increasing dose of carboplatin
After an average follow up of just over 2 years, in both groups the average length of time it took for the cancer to get worse was a year.
For women who had the flat dose the average length of time they lived was just over 34 months. For women who had the increasing dose it was just over 30 months. The researchers say this could have happened by chance and so was not
Overall about 10 out of every 100 women (10%) who had the increasing dose of carboplatin had more side effects such as feeling or being sick, infection and shortness of breath.
The trial team concluded that although increasing the dose of carboplatin was safe and feasible it didn’t work any better than the flat dose.
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
Professor Stan Kaye
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
Scottish Gynaecological Cancer Trials Group
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/04/010.