A trial looking at nitrocamptothecin (RFS 2000) for advanced ovarian cancer

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Cancer type:

Ovarian cancer




Phase 2

This trial looked at a new chemotherapy drug called nitrocamptothecin (RFS 2000) in women with ovarian cancer that had spread (advanced ovarian cancer).

Doctors often treat advanced ovarian cancer with chemotherapy. But in time, the cancer will start to grow again. Doctors are looking for new treatments to help stop or slow down the growth of ovarian cancer.

Doctors hoped that nitrocamptothecin would help these women. The aims of the trial were to see if nitrocamptothecin

  • Helped to control symptoms
  • Improved quality of life for women with advanced ovarian cancer

Summary of results

The research team found that nitrocamptothecin might help some women with advanced ovarian cancer.

The research team recruited 51 women with advanced ovarian cancer that had come back after platinum Open a glossary item chemotherapy. All women had treatment with nitrocamptothecin.

When the researchers were analysing the results, they split the women into two groups depending on how quickly their cancer had come back after chemotherapy.

  • In 23 women, the cancer had come back more than 12 months after platinum chemotherapy. The research team called this the ‘sensitive’ group
  • In 28 women, the cancer had come back within 12 months of having platinum chemotherapy. The research team called this the ‘refractory’ group

In the sensitive group

  • The cancer had got smaller in 4 women (a partial response Open a glossary item)
  • The cancer had stayed the same size in 13 women (stable disease Open a glossary item)

In the refractory group

  • No women had cancer that got smaller
  • The cancer stayed the same size in 10 women

The most common side effect was diarrhoea. Other side effects included a drop in the number of blood cells, feeling or being sick, and tiredness (fatigue).

The research team suggested that nitrocamptothecin might be helpful in women who have advanced ovarian cancer that is sensitive to platinum chemotherapy.

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) but may not have been 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

Professor J Smyth

Supported by

European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)

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Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle - 137

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

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

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“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

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