A trial of vinflunine for cancer of the penis (VinCaP)

Cancer type:

Penile cancer




Phase 2

This trial looked at the chemotherapy drug vinflunine for penile cancer that has spread outside the penis, or to another part of the body. 

The trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.

It was open for people to join between 2014 and 2017. The team published the results in 2021.

More about this trial

Doctors often treat cancer of the penis with surgery. This isn’t always possible if the cancer has spread. When this trial was done you might have had chemotherapy instead. 

Vinflunine was a newer chemotherapy drug when researchers ran this trial. They wanted to see how well it worked for penile cancer. 

The main aims of the trial were to see:

  • if vinflunine is a useful treatment
  • what the side effects are 

Summary of results

The trial team found that vinflunine worked for penile cancer. 

Trial design
25 people joined this phase 2 trial. Everyone had vinflunine. They had up to 4 cycles of treatment Open a glossary item.

12 people had all 4 cycles of vinflunine.

The team had the results for 22 people. They looked at how well treatment worked. To do this they looked at scans. 

The team looked at the number of people whose cancer had gone away, got smaller or stayed the same. They found this was 10 people (45.5%). 

The cancer:

  • didn’t go away completely in anyone 
  • got smaller in 6 people
  • stayed the same in 4 people
  • got worse in 12 people 

The team looked at how long people lived. This was about 8.4 months. They also looked at how long before the cancer started to grow again. This was about 2.9 months. The team say this is similar to standard combinations of chemotherapy that this group of people might have. 

Side effects
The most common side effects of vinflunine were:

  • tiredness (fatigue)
  • constipation
  • loss of appetite
  • a drop in red blood cells (anaemia Open a glossary item) causing an increased risk of tiredness and breathlessness 

15 people had at least one serious side effect. The most common serious side effect was a drop in the number of neutrophils Open a glossary item. This can cause an increased risk of infection. Two people died possibly as a result of treatment. 

In this small trial the team concluded that vinflunine was a useful treatment for penile cancer. And that it is worth looking at in a larger trial. The team found that there weren’t any unexpected side effects of treatment. 

The trial team don’t have plans to run a larger trial at the moment. 

Where this information comes from    
We have based this summary on information from the research team. 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 who did the research. 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

Dr Lisa Pickering
Dr Steve Nicholson

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Pierre Fabre Ltd UK

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/12/021.

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

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


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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