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 pazopanib for transitional cell urothelial tract cancer (PLUTO)
This trial looked at pazopanib for transitional cell cancer of the urinary tract that either hadn’t gone away or came back after treatment with chemotherapy. The urinary tract includes the:
- centre of the kidney (renal pelvis)
- tube that takes urine from the kidney to the bladder (ureter)
- tube that drains urine from the bladder and out of the body (urethra)
Cancer Research UK supported this trial.
More about this trial
The lining of the urinary tract is called the urothelium. It is made up of cells called transitional cells. Cancer that starts in these cells is called transitional cell cancer of the urothelial tract.
Paclitaxel is used to treat cancer of the urothelial tract that has either not gone away or that has come back after treatment. But unfortunately it doesn’t always work very well.
Pazopanib can help people with kidney cancer and researchers wanted to find out if it can help people with urothelial cancer.
Pazopanib is a type of targeted cancer drug called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI for short). TKIs block tyrosine kinase a chemical messenger that sends messages telling cells to divide and grow. Blocking the effect of tyrosine kinase may stop cancer cells growing.
The aims of this study were to find out:
- if pazopanib was better than paclitaxel at treating urothelial cancer that has come back or hadn’t gone away
- more about the side effects
Summary of results
The trial team found that pazopanib didn’t work any better than paclitaxel for people with transitional urothelial tract cancer that has either come back or hadn’t gone away after chemotherapy.
131 people took part in this phase 2 trial. It was a randomised trial. Everyone was put into 1 of 2 groups. Neither they nor their doctor chose which group they were in.
- 66 people had pazopanib
- 65 people had paclitaxel
The average follow up of people in the trial was 18 months.
The team looked at the average length of time people lived after treatment. They found it was:
- just under 5 months for people who had pazopanib
- 8 months for people who had paclitaxel
They also looked at the average length of time people were free of any sign of cancer after treatment. They found it was just over:
- 3 months for people who had pazopanib
- 4 months for people who had paclitaxel
When the Independent
The trial team concluded that this trial finally shows that pazopanib by itself shouldn’t be used for everyone with transitional urothelial tract cancer. And different approaches with pazopanib or similar drugs shouldn’t be excluded.
Also a personalised approach to treatment using a substance in the body (biomarker) shouldn’t be disregarded.
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
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Dr Robert J Jones
Prof Thomas Powles
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Glasgow
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
The Orchid Research Tissue Bank
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKE/11/021