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 radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy for patients with inoperable non small cell lung cancer (GRiN)
Doctors often use radiotherapy to treat non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), especially if they can’t operate to remove it. Doctors hoped that giving the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine as well as radiotherapy would be useful.
The aim of this trial was to see if gemcitabine as well as radiotherapy would work better than radiotherapy alone for NSCLC that cannot be removed with surgery.
Summary of results
The research team found that radiotherapy and gemcitabine together was no better than radiotherapy alone for people with non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that could not be removed with surgery.
This phase 3 trial recruited 111 people with NSCLC. The trial team had hoped more people would join the trial, but they stopped the trial earlier than planned because recruitment was slower than expected. They were able to analyse the results of 107 people who took part. Of these,
- 55 people had radiotherapy alone
- 52 people had radiotherapy and gemcitabine
When the trial team looked at how many people’s cancer had continued to grow, they found the results were similar in both groups. They also looked at how many people were still living 2 years after treatment, and these results were similar in each group.
A few more people who had gemcitabine and radiotherapy had side effects compared to those who had radiotherapy alone.
The trial team concluded that although this was a small trial, there was no benefit in giving gemcitabine as well as radiotherapy to this group of patients.
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 Allan Price
Anglo Celtic Cooperative Oncology Group
ISD Cancer Clinical Trials Team
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Edinburgh