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 erlotinib for non small cell lung cancer
This trial was to see how well erlotinib (Tarceva) worked as a first treatment for advanced non small cell lung cancer that is ‘EGFR positive’.
Doctors usually treat advanced non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with chemotherapy. But not everyone responds well to this treatment. And many find it difficult to cope with the side effects. Researchers wanted to find another type of treatment that worked for more people and had fewer side effects.
Some people have a type of lung cancer that has a high level of a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). EGFR is involved with the growth and spread of cancer cells. A drug called erlotinib (Tarceva) works by blocking EGFR. People whose cancer has too many growth factor receptors (so is EGFR positive) may benefit from erlotinib.
When this trial started, you only had erlotinib if you had already had chemotherapy. In this trial, researchers wanted to see how well erlotinib worked if you hadn't had any other treatment before. The aims of the trial were to find out
- How well erlotinib worked as a first treatment for EGFR positive NSCLC
- More about the side effects
- Whether people whose cancer responds well to erlotinib have any special features (biomarkers) in their cancer cells compared to those whose cancer doesn't respond
Summary of results
We have contacted the trial team who tell us they don’t expect to be publishing results from this trial.
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Denis Talbot
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust