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 Imatinib (Glivec) for soft tissue sarcoma of the skin (EORTC 62027)
Doctors usually remove DFSP and GCF with surgery. But sometimes they are not able to remove the whole area of sarcoma, or the cancer may start to grow again after the operation. These sarcomas can sometimes spread to another part of the body, although this is rare. If cancer continues to grow or spreads to another area of the body, it is often more difficult to treat.
Imatinib (Glivec) is a type of treatment called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). This means it blocks enzymes called
The research team hoped that imatinib would work on cells that contain a specific protein. This protein, called COL1A1/PGDF, is found in dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans and giant cell fibroblastoma cells.
Imatinib has been shown to work well for some other cancers, such as gastrointestinal stromal sarcoma (GIST) and chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). But the researchers were not sure how well it would work for these rare types of sarcoma of the skin.
The aims of this trial were to find out
- How well imatinib worked for DFSP and GCF
- More about the side effects
Summary of results
When the trial closed, it had recruited only people with dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP). The trial team found that DFPS responded well to imatinib.
This trial recruited 16 people. Everyone had imatinib.
After 14 weeks treatment, the researchers were able to assess how the cancer had responded in 14 of the 16 people. Of these people their cancer had
- Shrunk in 5
- Stayed the same in 6
- Continued to grow in 3
The average amount of time it took for the DFSP to start growing again was over 1 and a half years.
The most common side effects were
The trial team concluded that imatinib worked well for people with DFSP.
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
Dr Michael Leahy
European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)