“I was keen to go on a clinical trial. I wanted to try new cancer treatments and hopefully help future generations.”
A trial looking at celecoxib for women with breast cancer (REACT)
This trial looked at a Cox-2 inhibitor called celecoxib to see if it stopped early breast cancer coming back. It was open to women who had all of the following:
- breast surgery
- further treatment after surgery
- breast cancer that didn’t have a large number of the HER2 receptor (HER2 negative breast cancer)
This trial was open for people to join between 2007 and 2012. The team published the results in 2021.
Cancer Research UK supported this trial.
More about this trial
The usual first treatment for early breast cancer is surgery. Some people also have radiotherapy or chemotherapy. These treatments work well but sometimes the cancer comes back.
When this trial was done, doctors thought that adding celecoxib might lower the chance (risk) of the cancers coming back.
Celecoxib is a type of drug called a
In this trial researchers compared celecoxib to dummy tablets (
The aims were to find out:
- whether celecoxib stops breast cancer from coming back
- more about the side effects
Summary of results
The trial team found that taking celecoxib for 2 years didn’t stop HER2 negative breast cancer coming back.
This was a double blinded randomised trial. Neither the women nor their doctor could choose which group they were in. Nor did they know whether they were having celecoxib or the dummy drug.
A total of 2,639 women took part. 2 out of every 3 women had celecoxib.
1,763 women had celecoxib and 876 women had the dummy drug.
After surgery to remove their cancer the women had either radiotherapy or chemotherapy. They then had 2 years of treatment with either celecoxib or the dummy drug.
- 1,440 (84%) women in the celecoxib group
- 712 (83%) women in the dummy drug group
The researchers also looked at the number of women who were living after 5 years. They found this was similar between the 2 groups. It was:
- 1,560 women (90%) in the celecoxib group
- 772 women (91%) in the dummy drug group
Having celecoxib didn’t increase heart or certain other common side effects such as sickness or tummy pain. The team found no difference between the side effects reported by the women taking celecoxib and those who had the dummy drug. And the number of side effects reported in both groups were low.
The team concluded that celecoxib didn’t benefit women with HER2 negative early breast cancer.
The researchers say that having celecoxib for a longer period of time or having a higher dose might work better. But they would need to run a trial to test this.
Even so, all trial results help doctors and researchers understand more about different cancers and the best way to treat them.
Where this information comes from
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Charles Coombes
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
German Breast Group (GBG)
Imperial College London
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKE/03/015.