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 temozolomide for children and young people with diffuse pontine gliomas (CNS 2007 04)
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This trial looked at temozolomide during and after radiotherapy for children and young people with brain tumours called diffuse pontine gliomas. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
This trial was for children and young people up to and including the age of 21. We use the term ‘you’, but of course if you are a parent, we are referring to your child.
A glioma is a type of brain tumour. A diffuse pontine glioma starts in the brain stem. The brain stem runs down the centre of the brain and connects with the spinal cord. People who have this type of glioma usually have radiotherapy.
Doctors wanted to find out if adding chemotherapy to the usual treatment would help to shrink the tumour. In this trial they looked at the drug temozolomide which is used to treat some other types of brain tumours. Those taking part had temozolomide at the same time as radiotherapy and for up to a year afterwards.
The aims of the trial were
- To find out if having temozolomide during and after radiotherapy helped to shrink diffuse pontine gliomas
- To learn more about the side effects when children or young people had these 2 treatments together
Summary of results
The trial team found that having temozolomide during and after radiotherapy didn’t help children with diffuse pontine gliomas.
This was a phase 2 trial. It recruited 43 children and young people. Everyone was to have temozolomide during their radiotherapy, followed by a 4 week break and then temozolomide for a year afterwards.
After the initial temozolomide during radiotherapy, 7 children didn’t continue to have further temozolomide. For 6 children this was because their tumour had continued to grow. The other one chose not to continue with temozolomide.
Of the 36 children who started temozolomide after radiotherapy, 5 completed the full treatment. Of the 31 who didn’t complete treatment
- The tumour had started to grow again in 23 children
- Side effects caused 4 children to stop treatment
- 3 children decided not to continue with treatment
- Information was not available for 1 child
The main side effects were
- A drop in blood cells causing an increased risk of infection, bruising and bleeding
- Feeling or being sick
The average length of time the children lived after treatment was 9½ months. Those who lived for 2 years or more had an average age of 13 years old.
The trial team concluded that having temozolomide with radiotherapy and afterwards didn’t help younger children with diffuse pontine gliomas. But for teenagers with diffuse pontine gliomas, combining radiotherapy with other treatments may need further study.
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 Simon Bailey
Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK Children's Cancer Trials Team
University of Birmingham
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
The Brain Tumour Charity
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/10/016.