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 looking at cetuximab, capecitabine and irinotecan with radiotherapy before surgery for cancer of the rectum (EXCITE)
This trial looked at cetuximab, capecitabine and irinotecan with radiotherapy before surgery for rectal cancer that has spread into the surrounding tissues. It was supported by Cancer Research UK.
More about this trial
- how much this combination of treatment helps to shrink rectal cancer
- what the side effects are
Summary of results
- 80 had cetuximab, irinotecan, capecitabine and radiotherapy (this combination is called chemoradiation)
- 76 went on to have surgery, about 8 weeks after chemoradiation
- 4 had scans that showed their cancer had gone completely and decided not to have surgery
When you have an operation to remove cancer, the doctors look at the area around the operation site to see if there are any cancer cells there. They call this the margin.
When the doctors looked at the margin around the operation site in the people taking part in this trial, they found that:
- 67 people had no cancer (a clear margin)
- 8 people had a very small amount of cancer, which could only be seen under a microscope
- 1 person had a small area of cancer that could be seen by the doctor
- in 3 out of 10 people (30%), the cancer had either gone completely or nearly gone
- in nearly 7 out of 10 people (67%), there was no signs of the cancer growing 3 years after treatment
- 8 out of 10 people (80%) were living 3 years after treatment
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Simon Gollins
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University College London (UCL)
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/07/043.