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ICON8: trial of weekly chemotherapy in ovarian cancer opens to recruitment

05 October 2011

ICON8 is an international trial comparing weekly chemotherapy with three-weekly chemotherapy for women with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer or primary peritoneal cancer.

Ovarian cancer is usually treated by a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. The chemotherapy used for ovarian cancer is usually a combination of two drugs, carboplatin and paclitaxel given for six cycles over a three-week period.

Recent studies have suggested that giving chemotherapy more frequently than once every three weeks is also effective. This type of treatment, known as dose-fractionated chemotherapy, involves giving carboplatin and/or paclitaxel at a lower dose every week during treatment so that a smaller dose of chemotherapy is given every week for 18 weeks rather than a larger dose once every three weeks.

The study aims to find out if weekly chemotherapy is more effective than standard three-weekly chemotherapy in treating ovarian cancer. It will also investigate whether weekly chemotherapy causes more or fewer side-effects than standard chemotherapy. Although weekly chemotherapy involves more doses of chemotherapy than standard chemotherapy, the treatment course is the same length for both. 

The trial is now open to recruitment in the UK and the first patients were randomised in June of this year. As of 29 September 2011, 17 patients have been recruited. The trial is open at five sites - The Christie Hospital in Manchester, Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, Royal Marsden Hospital London, Royal Marsden Hospital Sutton and University College London Hospital. 65 other UK sites have expressed interest in participating in the trial and 50 of these are currently pursuing local approvals to run the trial. International interest has also been expressed from Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Ireland, Spain and Mexico.

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