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 cediranib for ovarian cancer that has come back (ICON 6)
This trial was looking at a drug called cediranib alongside chemotherapy for ovarian cancer that had come back after having chemotherapy that included a platinum drug. The trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
More about this trial
Doctors often treat ovarian cancer with surgery followed by chemotherapy. The chemotherapy usually includes a platinum drug such as carboplatin or cisplatin. If ovarian cancer comes back after this type of treatment, you may have more chemotherapy. But researchers are looking for ways to improve treatment. In this trial they looked at a drug called cediranib alongside further chemotherapy.
Cediranib (also known as AZD2171) is type of biological therapy called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). It stops cancers from being able to make new blood vessels that are essential for their growth.
The aims of this trial were to find out
- If cediranib and chemotherapy together worked better than chemotherapy alone for ovarian cancer that had come back
- If continuing cediranib after chemotherapy was beneficial
- More about the side effects
Summary of results
The researchers found that taking cediranib alongside chemotherapy and continuing to take it afterwards extended the length of time before the cancer started to grow again by 3 months.
The trial recruited 456 women with ovarian cancer. Their average age was 62 and they all had cancer that had come back, but not for at least 6 months after finishing chemotherapy that included a platinum drug.
Everybody had more platinum chemotherapy. They also had one of the following
- Cediranib during chemotherapy and then on its own for up to 18 months after finishing chemotherapy
- Cediranib during chemotherapy and then a dummy drug (
placebo) for up to 18 months after finishing chemotherapy
- A dummy drug during and after chemotherapy
The trial team looked at the average length of time women lived without signs of their cancer getting worse. Researchers call this progression free survival. They found it was
- Just under 12 ½ months for women who had cediranib alongside chemotherapy and afterwards
- Just under 9 ½ months for women who had the dummy drug alongside chemotherapy
Having cediranib alongside chemotherapy and then stopping it led to an improvement midway between the other 2 groups.
They also looked at the average length of time women lived after joining the trial. Researchers call this overall survival. The women who continued to take cediranib after finishing chemotherapy lived for about 3 months longer than women in the other 2 groups who had the dummy drug.
Side effects were more common in the group of women who took cediranib during and after chemotherapy. They included
- High blood pressure
- Tiredness (fatigue)
- Feeling sick
- A drop in thyroid hormones (
- Hoarse voice
The trial team concluded that having cediranib alongside chemotherapy and continuing it afterwards improved progression free survival and overall survival.
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
Professor Jonathan Ledermann
Cancer Research UK
Medical Research Council (MRC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/07/025.