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 a new type of ECF chemotherapy for people with advanced oesophageal or stomach cancer
This trial looked at ECF chemotherapy in combination with sodium folinate, and a different way of giving fluorouracil chemotherapy, for people with advanced stomach cancer or cancer of the food pipe (oesophageal cancer).
Doctors often treat advanced oesophageal cancer or stomach cancer with a combination of drugs called ECF. This is epirubicin, cisplatin and fluorouracil (5FU).
Everyone taking part in this trial had a higher dose of 5FU over 24 hours instead of the standard continuous infusion over a number of weeks. They also all had sodium folinate (folinic acid) in combination with 5FU, as earlier trials have shown that it helps 5FU to work better. The combination of ECF and sodium folinate together is called ECSF.
The aims of the trial were to find out
- The best dose of 5FU to give in 24 hours
- How well ECSF works for advanced oesophageal or stomach cancer
- More about the side effects
Summary of results
The researchers found that the patients in this trial who had ECSF did not do better than patients who have standard ECF for advanced oesophageal or stomach cancer.
The was a small trial and recruited 29 patients with advanced oesophageal or stomach cancer.
The researchers analysed the results in 2004. They looked at how well people responded to treatment. They found no difference between patients who had ECSF treatment as part of the trial and patients who have standard ECF.
The researchers found that ECSF caused more side effects than standard ECF. Six people in this trial stopped treatment early because of side effects. The most common side effect was a drop in blood cell counts.
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 Peter Harper
Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses
Freephone 0808 800 4040