"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”
A trial looking at erlotinib after standard treatment for ovarian cancer (OV07/EORTC 55041)
This trial looked at erlotinib (Tarceva) for women who had finished standard treatment for ovarian cancer.
Doctors usually treat ovarian cancer, with surgery and chemotherapy. This is standard treatment. But sometimes the cancer comes back after standard treatment.
Erlotinib is a type of biological therapy called a cancer growth blocker. It stops signals that cancer cells use to divide and grow. Doctors hoped erlotinib would be able to stop or slow down the growth of ovarian cancer.
The aims of this trial were
- To find out if adding erlotinib to standard treatment helped to stop or delay ovarian cancer coming back
- To learn more about the side effects of erlotinib for ovarian cancer
Summary of results
The trial team found that having erlotinib after the standard treatment for ovarian cancer didn’t help to stop it coming back.
This was an international phase 3 trial. It was a randomised trial. Everyone had the standard treatment before they were randomly put into 1 of 2 groups. The 2 groups were those who had erlotinib after standard treatment and those who didn’t.
Of the 835 women recruited, the researchers were able to look at the results of 831.
The researchers used 2 methods to see if the cancer had started to grow again. The first was an increase in a substance, called
The researchers monitored the women for an average of just over 4 years. For women who had an increase in their CA125, they found that
- 8 out of every 100 (8%) had erlotinib
- 11 out of every 100 (11%) didn’t have erlotinib
For those women whose cancer was bigger on a scan
- 33 out of every 100 (33%) had erlotinib
- 31 out of every 100 (31%) didn’t have erlotinib
For those women who had an increase in their CA125 and their scan showed their cancer was getting bigger
- 7 out of every 100 (7%) had erlotinib
- 6 out of every 100 (6%) didn’t have erlotinib
The worst side effects reported from those having erlotinib were diarrhoea and a skin rash. Of the women who had erlotinib, 25 out of every 100 (25%) stopped taking it because of the side effects.
The trial team concluded that having erlotinib after standard treatment didn’t delay or stop ovarian cancer coming back.
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
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Dr Marcia Hall
Cancer Research UK
European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
The Cancer Research UK number for this trial was CRUKE/05/025.