Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.
A trial looking at gemcitabine and ganitumab for pancreatic cancer that has spread (GAMMA)
This trial looked at the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine alongside a drug called ganitumab for pancreatic cancer that has spread to another part of the body.
More about this trial
Doctors usually treat pancreatic cancer that has spread with a chemotherapy drug called gemcitabine. But researchers are looking at ways to improve treatment for this group of people.
In this trial, they looked at a drug called ganitumab. It is a type of biological therapy called a monoclonal antibody. The researchers looked at different doses of ganitumab alongside gemcitabine, and compared these drug combinations with gemcitabine alone.
The aims of the trial were to
- Find out if having ganitumab and gemcitabine helps people with advanced pancreatic cancer
- Learn more about the side effects
Summary of results
The trial team found that having ganitumab alongside gemcitabine didn’t help people with pancreatic cancer that had spread.
This was a randomised trial. The people taking part were put into 1 of 3 groups at random. Neither they nor their doctor knew which group they were in. Researchers call this a double blind study. 800 people had treatment in this trial.
- 322 had gemcitabine and a dummy drug (placebo)
- 318 had gemcitabine and ganitumab
- 160 had gemcitabine and a higher dose of ganitumab
Results of the trial were published in 2015 explaining that the trial was stopped early after a review by the committee that monitors the safety and design of the trial (the data monitoring committee). This was because early results suggested that it was very unlikely this trial would be able to show that ganitumab alongside gemcitabine helps people with advanced pancreatic cancer to live longer than gemcitabine alone.
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.
Professor William Steward
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer