A trial looking at codrituzumab for advanced liver cancer

Cancer type:

Liver cancer
Secondary cancers




Phase 2

This trial looked at a drug called codrituzumab which was previously known as GC33. 

It was for people with a type of liver cancer called hepatocellular cancer (HCC) that had spread to other parts of the body (advanced cancer). 

HCC is the most common type of liver cancer.

More about this trial

This trial started in 2012 and these results were published in 2016. Researchers wanted to find out whether codrituzumab helped people with advanced hepatocellular cancer and how safe it was.

Codrituzumab is a type of targeted drug called a monoclonal antibody. It seeks out cancer cells by looking for particular proteins. 

Everyone who took part had either codrituzumab or a dummy drug (placebo Open a glossary item).

Summary of results

The trial team concluded that codrituzumab did not help people with advanced hepatocellular cancer (HCC). 
This was a phase 2 trial. 185 people with advanced HCC took part. Everyone had had at least 1 previous treatment that reached their whole body (systemic treatment). 
This was a randomised trial. This means that the people taking part were put into 1 of the following treatment groups by a computer:
  • 125 people had codrituzumab
  • 60 people had a dummy drug
Neither they nor their doctor could choose which group they were in. And neither they nor their doctor knew which group they were in. This was a double blind trial. People were 2 times more likely to have codrituzumab than the dummy drug.
The team looked at how well codrituzumab worked. To do this they looked at the average length of time people lived without any signs of their cancer getting worse. Researchers call this progression free survival. They found that it was:
  • almost 3 months for people in the codrituzumab group
  • almost 2 months for people in the dummy drug group
The team also looked at the length of time people lived after treatment. This is called overall survival. They found that:
  • people who had codrituzumab lived about 9 months after treatment
  • people who had the dummy drug lived around 10 months after treatment

Side effects​
The trial team looked at the most common side effects of codrituzumab. They were:

  • high temperature (fever)
  • tiredness (fatigue)
  • feeling or being sick
  • decrease appetite
  • diarrhoea or constipation
  • cough
  • a build up of fluid (oedema) and itchy skin
  • pain in the tummy (abdomen) and headaches

The trial team concluded that the side effects of codrituzumab are acceptable. But the trial team could not show, in a statistical way, that codrituzumab helps people with advanced hepatocellular cancer. They formulated different theories for this and might look at different doses of codrituzumab in the future.

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

Paul Ross

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)

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.

Last reviewed:

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