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 study looking at using gene mutations and an enzyme to decide the best treatment for advanced bowel cancer (FOCUS 3)
This study looked at the possibility of using changes in genes and an enzyme to decide the best treatment to give people for advanced bowel cancer.
Doctors usually treat advanced bowel cancer with chemotherapy drugs. They sometimes also use the
We know from research that if your bowel cancer had a change (
Doctors can do tests to find out the levels of topo-1in a person’s bowel cancer and any changes in their bowel cancer genes. But these tests take time.
Researchers wanted to find out if it was possible to get these test results back and people to be put into a treatment group within 10 working days. They could then work out if it would be useful to set up a much bigger study using test results like this to choose the best treatment for people with advanced bowel cancer.
The aims of this study were to find out
- How quickly the gene and enzyme tests could be done and people put into a treatment group
- If it was possible to set up a bigger trial using the results of tests like these to select different combinations of drugs to treat advanced bowel cancer
Summary of results
The trial found that it would be possible to set up a bigger trial using the results of K-RAS and topo-1 testing to select different treatment combinations for advanced bowel cancer.
The trial team sent a sample of the people’s cancer to the laboratory to test for a change in the K-RAS gene and measure the level of the enzyme topo-1.
They then looked at the number of days it took for the results to come back. They found that the results had come back within
- 10 working days for 71 out of every 100 people (71%)
- 15 working days for 91 out of every 100 people (91%)
- 20 working days for 99 out of every 100 people (99%)
The trial team concluded that the time period between getting the results for the K-RAS and topo-1 testing was quick enough to be used to put people into different treatment groups. They have now taken this forward into another clinical trial called FOCUS 4.
We have more information on FOCUS 4.
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 Tim Maughan
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Health and Care Research Wales
Medical Research Council (MRC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer