A trial looking at chemotherapy for mesothelioma (MS 01)

Cancer type:





Phase 3

This trial looked at chemotherapy as well as active symptom control for mesothelioma of the lung. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.

Mesothelioma is often very hard to treat. At the moment there is no standard treatment Open a glossary item for mesothelioma, but it is sometimes treated with chemotherapy, surgery or radiotherapy. Other treatments include painkillers and steroids Open a glossary item, and this is called ‘active symptom control’ (ASC).

Doctors are not sure how good chemotherapy is at helping to control symptoms of mesothelioma. This trial compared 2 different combinations of chemotherapy with no chemotherapy.

The aim of the trial was to see which treatment is better at controlling the symptoms of mesothelioma.

Summary of results

The research team found that chemotherapy and ASC was slightly better than ASC alone. But the difference was not big enough to be ‘significant Open a glossary item’ in statistical terms.

The trial recruited 409 patients

  • One third had active symptom control (ASC) measures
  • One third had ASC and the chemotherapy drugs mitomycin, vinblastine and cisplatin (a combination called MVP)
  • One third had ASC and the chemotherapy drug vinorelbine

The people who had ASC and vinorelbine did slightly better than the people in the other two groups. But the difference was only small. The people who had chemotherapy often lived just a month or two more than the people who did not.

The research team also measured the ‘quality of life’ of the people taking part. The results were similar across all three groups.

The research team concluded that chemotherapy, and vinorelbine in particular, may be useful for treating some people with mesothelioma. But more trials need to be done.

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

Dr Martin Muers

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/03/001.

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 224

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

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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