A study to find out more about why people respond to chemotherapy differently

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Cancer type:

All cancer types
Bowel (colorectal) cancer
Rectal cancer
Secondary cancers

Status:

Results

Phase:

Other

This study looked at blood samples and samples of spit from people having platinum chemotherapy drugs. Platinum chemotherapy Open a glossary item includes cisplatin, oxaliplatin and carboplatin.

More about this trial

Chemotherapy is one of the usual cancer treatments. The drugs are grouped according to how they work. Platinum chemotherapy Open a glossary item works by reacting with the DNA of the cancer cell, making it die. 
 
Platinum chemotherapy is a treatment for a wide range of cancers. But it doesn’t always help everyone. Doctors don’t want to put people through long courses of treatment and side effects if it won’t help them. But they can’t always tell in advance how it will work. 
 
In this study, researchers looked at DNA from blood samples. They wanted to see if genetic differences could help predict how well platinum chemotherapy worked. Looking at differences in genetic makeup is called genotyping. 
 
The researchers also looked at spit (saliva) samples to see if this gave them the same information about genetic makeup as the blood samples.
 
The aim of this study was to find out why platinum chemotherapy works better in some people than others. 
 

Summary of results

The study team didn’t find a link between genetic makeup (genotype) and how well platinum chemotherapy worked.
 
Results
There are 2 parts to these results. One part was published in 2014 and looked at spit samples. The other part includes some key findings about platinum chemotherapy in people with bowel cancer. This looked at blood samples. These key findings haven’t been published.
 
Study of spit (saliva) samples
10 people took part in this small study. Everyone gave blood and spit samples:
  • before chemotherapy
  • shortly after chemotherapy
The researchers also asked everyone to give another spit sample 24 hours after having chemotherapy. The study team found it was possible to look at the DNA in the spit samples. But the saliva samples didn’t give the same information as the blood samples.
 
Study of platinum chemotherapy in bowel cancer (blood samples)
This was a small study. 47 people who had bowel cancer that had spread elsewhere in the body took part. 
 
Everyone had chemotherapy that included a platinum drug. Most had a combination of chemotherapy called FOLFOX. Some also had some areas of cancer spread removed by surgery. 
 
The study team looked at how well treatment had worked. They had the results for 44 people. They found in:
  • 24 people the cancer went away a little bit
  • 17 people the cancer stayed the same
  • 3 people the cancer got worse
They looked at each person’s genotype and compared this with:
  • how well treatment worked
  • side effects
  • the number of people living whose cancer hadn’t come back
  • how long people lived for after treatment
But they couldn’t find a significant link with genotype and any of these. 
 
This was a small study. The researchers say another study might produce better results if:
  • more people took part
  • everyone had the same treatment 
But there isn’t a study planned to do this at the moment.
 
Conclusion
The study team didn’t find out why some people respond differently to platinum chemotherapy than others. They concluded that more work needs to be done before saliva sampling can be a reliable way of seeing how well platinum chemotherapy is working. The trial team also found that most people didn’t want to give the spit samples.
 
Study of platinum chemotherapy in bowel cancer
We have based this summary on information from the research team.  As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) or published in a medical journal yet. The figures we quote above were provided by the research team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.
 
Study of spit (saliva) samples
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 Anne Thomas

Supported by

Da Vinci Health Technology Innovation Network
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Healthcare and Bioscience iNet
Hope against cancer
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

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Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

4572

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Cara took part in a clinical trial

A picture of Cara

"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”

Last reviewed:

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