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 looking at 2 different combinations of chemotherapy for small cell lung cancer
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This trial was comparing a combination of gemcitabine and carboplatin with a combination of cisplatin and etoposide for small cell lung cancer.
The aims of the trial were to find out
- If gemcitabine and carboplatin (GC) worked as well as cisplatin and etoposide (PE)
- Whether this new combination of drugs caused fewer side effects
Summary of results
The trial team found that GC worked as well as PE and caused fewer side effects.
The trial recruited 241 people with small cell lung cancer. Half had gemcitabine and carboplatin. The other half had cisplatin and etoposide.
The average length of time that people lived without any signs of the cancer growing was
- 5.9 months for people who had GC
- 6.3 months for people who had PE
Just under a third of people in each group lived for more than a year.
Another side effect was a drop in the number of blood cells. This was more common in people who had GC. A drop in the number of blood cells leads to an increased risk of infection and bleeding problems. But people in the GC group did not actually have any more infections or bleeding problems than the people in the PE group.
So, the trial team found that GC worked as well as PE and caused less sickness and hair loss.
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 Robin Rudd
London Lung Cancer Group
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)