A trial looking at chemotherapy and Genasense for advanced melanoma skin cancer (AGENDA)

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Cancer type:

Skin cancer




Phase 3

This trial looked at chemotherapy with or without an experimental drug called Genasense for advanced melanoma skin cancer that had not been treated with chemotherapy.

Advanced melanoma can be difficult to treat if it can’t be removed with an operation. Doctors sometimes use chemotherapy. One of the drugs used is called dacarbazine (DTIC).

Doctors know that in some people with melanoma a protein called Bcl-2 prevents cancer cells from dying off like normal cells do. Genasense (Oblimersen) can make cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy. Genasense blocks the production of Bcl-2 proteins. So doctors had hoped that giving Genasense to reduce the amount of Bcl-2 in cancer cells helped standard treatment such as dacarbazine to work better.

The aims of the trial were to

  • Find out if Genasense and dacarbazine together worked better than dacarbazine alone
  • Compare the side effects of the 2 treatment groups

Summary of results

The trial team found that melanoma responded better to Genasense and dacarbazine than dacarbazine only.

This trial recruited 314 people. They were put into 1 of 2 groups those who had

  • Genasense and dacarbazine
  • Dacarbazine and a dummy drug (placebo)

For those who had Genasense and dacarbazine, the melanoma responded to treatment in about 17 people out of every 100 (17%). And for those who had dacarbazine only, it responded to treatment in about 12 people out of every 100 (12%).  Despite this there was no difference to the amount of time people lived after treatment.

The trial team concluded that the addition of Genasense to dacarbazine made no difference to the number of people who lived (overall survival).

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 (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

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.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Martin Gore

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Genta Incorporated

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Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle - 3649

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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