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 of elacytarabine for acute myeloid leukaemia that has come back or did not respond to treatment
This trial looked at a drug called elacytarabine (pronounced el-ah-site-ar-ah-been) for people with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). It was for people with AML that had come back or did not respond to treatment.
Doctors usually treat AML with chemotherapy. The aim of chemotherapy is to get rid of the leukaemia. This is called
Elacytarabine is a made up of a drug called cytarabine and a fatty acid. Cytarabine is already used to treat AML, but it is often difficult to get enough of the drug into the leukaemia cells. Researchers wanted to see if having the drug attached to a fatty acid helps to get more of the drug into the cells.
The aims of the trial were to find out
- If elacytarabine is better than other treatments for people with AML that has not responded to induction treatment or has come back afterwards
- More about the side effects
Summary of results
The researchers found that elacytarabine was not a useful treatment for people with AML that had come back or did not respond to treatment.
381 people took part and
- Half had elacytarabine
- Half had 1 of 7 usual AML treatments recommended by their doctor (Doctors call this the (control group)
The researchers looked at
- How well the treatment worked
- The length of time before the cancer came back
- The length of time people lived after joining the trial
They found there was no difference between the people who had elacytarabine and the control group in any of these.
People in the elacytarabine group had more side effects such as liver problems, headaches and high levels of cholesterol and potassium in the blood.
The researchers concluded that elacytarabine was no better than any of the 7 usual AML treatments that people had in this trial.
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 (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Francis Giles
Dr Gail Roboz
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer