A trial looking at chemotherapy and thalidomide for advanced non small cell lung cancer (LLCG Study 14)

Cancer type:

Lung cancer
Non small cell lung cancer




Phase 3

This trial looked at gemcitabine and carboplatin chemotherapy with or without thalidomide for people with advanced non small cell lung cancer.

Doctors often treat lung cancer with radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy, depending on the stage of the cancer. Surgery or radiotherapy may not be not suitable for people with advanced lung cancer. People in this situation usually have chemotherapy to try to control the growth of the cancer.

Thalidomide is a drug that stops cancer growing new blood vessels. Doctors call this type of treatment anti angiogenic. Early research looking at anti angiogenic drugs such as thalidomide for non small cell lung cancer showed that it might be a useful treatment.

The aims of this trial were to find out

  • If chemotherapy and thalidomide is better at controlling cancer growth than chemotherapy alone
  • More about side effects and quality of life Open a glossary item

Summary of results

The trial team found that the people who had chemotherapy and thalidomide did no better overall than the people who had chemotherapy alone.

This trial recruited 722 people. Everyone had up to 4 cycles of treatment with gemcitabine and carboplatin chemotherapy. And then

  • Half had thalidomide for up to 2 years
  • Half had a dummy drug (placebo Open a glossary item) for up to 2 years

The researchers analysed the results in 2009. They looked at how well the treatments worked. They found no difference between the 2 different groups. But they are still analysing the final results to look for specific people (subgroups) who might benefit from this treatment.

The side effects were similar in both groups. One of the known side effects of thalidomide is an increased risk of getting a blood clot in the leg or lung. So as expected, more people in the thalidomide group had problems with blood clots. But doctors kept a close eye on these patients and treated this side effect straight away.

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 (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial 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

Professor S M Lee

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
London Lung Cancer Group
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 283

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

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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