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 etirinotecan pegol for advanced ovarian cancer that is resistant to platinum drugs
This trial looked at a drug called etirinotecan pegol (also known as NKTR-102) for women with ovarian cancer. The trial was for women with
Their cancer had come back despite having other treatment and could not be removed with surgery.
These cancers are all treated in the same way, so when we use the term ovarian cancer in this summary, we are referring to all 3.
Doctors usually treat ovarian cancer with surgery followed by chemotherapy. The chemotherapy drugs they most commonly use are
Platinum resistant ovarian cancer is difficult to treat. You may have a drug called liposomal doxorubicin, but the cancer may still continue to grow.
In this trial, researchers were looking at a drug called etirinotecan pegol. It is made by joining the chemotherapy drug irinotecan with another substance called a glycol. This process is called
The aims of the trial were to see if etirinotecan pegol was safe and if it helped women with platinum resistant advanced ovarian cancer.
Summary of results
The trial team found that etirinotecan pegol was safe and did help women with platinum resistant advanced ovarian cancer.
This was a phase 2 trial. It was a randomised trial and recruited 71 women. They were put into 1 of 2 treatment groups. Neither they nor their doctor chose which group they were in. Everyone in the trial had the study treatment.
- 36 women had etirinotecan pegol once a week every 2 weeks
- 35 women had etirinotecan pegol once a week every 3 weeks
The average length of time before their cancer started to grow again was
- Just over 4 months for those women who had etirinotecan pegol every 2 weeks
- Just over 5 months for those women who had etirinotecan pegol every 3 weeks
The average overall length of time that the women lived was
- 10 months for those who had etirinotecan pegol every 2 weeks
- 11½ months for those who had etirinotecan pegol every 3 weeks
The women who had etirinotecan pegol every 3 weeks had fewer side effects.
The most common side effects were diarrhoea and dehydration.
The trial team concluded that etirinotecan pegol helped women who had platinum resistant ovarian cancer. Having etirinotecan pegol every 3 weeks had fewer side effects and this is the preferred way to give it for future studies.
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 Nick Reed
Professor Hilary Calvert
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer