A trial looking at weekly chemotherapy for ovarian cancer (ICON 8)

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Cancer type:

Ovarian cancer

Status:

Results

Phase:

Phase 3

This trial compared chemotherapy every week with chemotherapy every 3 weeks for ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer or primary peritoneal cancer. It was supported by Cancer Research UK.

More about this trial

Ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer are all similar and are treated in the same way. So when we use the term ovarian cancer in this summary, we are referring to all 3.
 
Doctors usually treat ovarian cancer with surgery and chemotherapy. They commonly use the chemotherapy drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel (Taxol).
 
When this trial was done, the standard treatment was to have chemotherapy once every 3 weeks. Each 3 week period is called a cycle of treatment.
 
In this trial, researchers wanted to find out if having a lower dose of chemotherapy once a week was better than the standard treatment.
 
The aims of the trial were to see if weekly chemotherapy:
  • is better than 3 weekly chemotherapy for women with ovarian cancer
  • causes more or fewer side effects than 3 weekly chemotherapy

Summary of results

This trial recruited more than 1,500 women with ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer or primary peritoneal cancer. None of the women taking part had had treatment for their cancer before.
 
The women taking part were put into 1 of 3 treatment groups at random. Neither they nor their doctor could decide which group they were in, and:
  • 522 women had both carboplatin and paclitaxel once every 3 weeks (group A)
  • 523 women had carboplatin once every 3 weeks, and paclitaxel once a week (group B)
  • 521 women had both carboplatin and paclitaxel once a week (group C)
The research team looked at how well the different treatment plans worked.
 
First they looked at how long it was until the cancer started to grow. They found it was similar in the 3 groups:
  • 24.4 months for those in group A (3 weekly chemotherapy)
  • 24.9 months for those in group B (3 weekly carboplatin and weekly paclitaxel)
  • 25.3 months for those in group C (weekly chemotherapy)
When they looked at how many women were living 2 years after joining the trial, they found this was also similar in the 3 groups:
  • 8 out of 10 (80%) of those in group A 
  • just over 8 out of 10 (82%) of those in group B
  • just under 8 out of 10 (78%) of those in group C
They also looked at the side effects. A few more women who had weekly chemotherapy in groups B and C had side effects, compared to the women in group A. The most common additional side effect was a drop in white blood cells. The number of women with other side effects was similar in the 3 groups.
 
The research team concluded that weekly chemotherapy was safe to give, but didn’t work better than 3 weekly chemotherapy as a first treatment for ovarian cancer. They suggest that carboplatin and paclitaxel every 3 weeks should still be the standard treatment for these women.
 
We have based this summary on information from the research team. 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 research 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

Dr Andrew Clamp

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Medical Research Council (MRC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/10/030. 

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Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

6183

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

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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