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 carboplatin, gemcitabine and vandetanib for advanced transitional cell cancer that has spread (TOUCAN)
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This trial was for people with transitional cell cancer that had grown into surrounding tissue (locally advanced) or spread elsewhere in the body.
Cancer Research UK supported this trial.
More about this trial
Chemotherapy is the usual treatment for advanced transitional cell cancer. One of the usual treatments is chemotherapy with cisplatin and gemcitabine. Some people aren’t suitable to have this, so they might have carboplatin and gemcitabine instead. Doctors wanted to improve treatment for this group of people. In this trial they looked at a drug called vandetanib.
Vandetanib is a type of
Researchers thought that adding vandetanib to carboplatin and gemcitabine might work better than carboplatin and gemcitabine alone. But they wanted to find out more.
The aims of this trial were to find out:
- how well carboplatin, gemcitabine and vandetanib work for advanced transitional cell cancer
- how safe it was and to learn more about the side effects
Summary of results
The trial team found that having vandetanib alongside carboplatin and gemcitabine wasn’t a useful treatment for advanced transitional cell cancer. Although the combination was safe, vandetanib caused additional side effects with no added benefits.
82 people took part in the trial. They were put into 1 of 2 groups at random:
- 42 had carboplatin, gemcitabine and a
- 40 had carboplatin, gemcitabine and vandetanib
Everyone had up to 6 (21 day) cycles of treatment.
The trial team looked at the average length of time people lived without signs of their cancer getting worse. Researchers call this progression free survival. They found this was:
- just under 9 (8.8) months in the people who had the dummy drug
- just under 7 (6.8) months in the people who had vandetanib
They also looked at how long people lived for after treatment. They found that on average this was:
- just under 14 (13.8) months in the people who had the dummy drug
- just under 11 (10.8) months in the people who had vandetanib
People who had vandetanib had more problems with:
- a drop in
white blood cellsand platelets
- a cough
- lung infections
- low levels of calcium in the blood
- muscle and joint pain
- skin rash and sensitivity to sunlight
- sleeping problems
Despite the side effects, it was safe to have vandetanib with carboplatin and gemcitabine. However it did result in people having treatment for a shorter time and having a lower dose. Fewer people in the vandetanib group completed the full course of chemotherapy.
The trial team concluded that vandetanib wasn’t a useful treatment alongside carboplatin and gemcitabine for people with advanced transitional cell cancer who can’t have cisplatin.
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Rob Jones
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Wales Cancer Trials Unit (WCTU)
National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI)
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKE/09/024.