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 chemotherapy for advanced cancer of the bile duct or gallbladder (ABC 02)
This trial was looking at gemcitabine, with or without cisplatin, for people with advanced cancer of the bile duct or gallbladder. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
More about this trial
Doctors thought chemotherapy may be useful for treating advanced cancer of the bile duct or gallbladder that could not be removed with surgery. But they were not sure which chemotherapy drugs were the best to use.
- Helped people to live longer
- Was better at controlling the cancer
- Caused fewer side effects
Summary of results
The researchers found that the combination of gemcitabine and cisplatin worked better than gemcitabine alone. And it didn’t cause any more side effects.
The trial recruited 410 people. Half the people had gemcitabine alone, half had gemcitabine and cisplatin.
Just over half the people taking part became more unwell during treatment. Some of this was due to the chemotherapy. This was the same for both groups. A few more people in the group having both drugs had a drop in the number of blood cells.
The average length of time before the cancer started growing again was
- 8 and a half months for people having both drugs
- 6 and a half months for people having gemcitabine alone
And the average length of time that people lived after they were put into the trial was also longer in the group having both drugs (11 months) than in the group having gemcitabine alone (8 months).
As the results showed that the combination of both drugs worked better, the researchers suggest this should become
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
Dr John Bridgewater
Dr Harpreet Wasan
Dr Juan Valle
Cancer Research UK
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University College London (UCL)
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/04/012.