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 women whose cervical cancer has come back after treatment (Scotcerv)
This trial looked at gemcitabine and docetaxel (Taxotere) for women whose cervical cancer had come back after treatment.
Most women who have chemotherapy for cervical cancer have cisplatin. If the cancer starts to grow again, you can have a second course of cisplatin. But the second course often doesn’t work as well as the first.
The aim of this trial was to see how well gemcitabine and docetaxel worked for cervical cancer that had come back after cisplatin chemotherapy. And to find out more about the side effects of this combination.
Summary of results
The trial team found that gemcitabine and docetaxel had similar results as other chemotherapy treatments for women whose cervical cancer had come back.
This trial recruited 50 women. The researchers split these women into 2 groups.
In group 1, there were 21 women. Their cancer had come back in the area between their hip bones (
In group 2, there were 29 women. Their cancer had come back in other parts of the body, outside of their pelvis.
Everyone had docetaxel and gemcitabine.
Of the women in group 1
- In 2 women, the cancer got smaller – doctors call this a
- In 6 women, the cancer stayed the same – doctors call this
- In 4 women, their cancer continued to grow
- In the remaining 9 women the researchers couldn’t examine their cancer again because their health had got worse
Of the women in group 2
- In 6 women there was a partial response
- In 7 women there was stable disease
- In 9 women the cancer continued to grow
- Unfortunately 1 woman died before treatment started
- In the remaining 6 women the researchers couldn’t examine their cancer again because their health had got worse
The most common side effect was a drop in blood cells causing an increase risk of infection.
The researchers found a drop in the women’s
The researchers concluded that the combination of docetaxel and gemcitabine had similar results to other chemotherapy treatments for women whose cervical cancer had come back. They suggest that future trials should look at combining chemotherapy with a biological therapy.
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 Paul Symonds
Eli Lilly and Company Limited
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
Scottish Gynaecological Cancer Trials Group