Royal Marsden trial leads to practice changing milestone for advanced anal cancer
Results from the first ever randomised clinical trial in advanced anal cancer patients, led and supported by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Cancer Research UK, in collaboration with colleagues in the US, Norway and Australia, has led to a practice changing milestone with a new approach to treatment which is safer and more effective than previously recommended treatments for this group of patients.
“This is a great example of international collaboration for a rare cancer with the results having a direct impact on recommended guidelines which will benefit patients with anal cancer from around the world.
“Around 30 per cent of people with anal cancer will develop advanced disease which cannot be treated surgically, and all of these patients are eligible to receive this chemotherapy combination.”
Deborah Pink, 58, was a patient on this trial who has benefitted from receiving the newly recommended chemotherapy combination. Deborah has been receiving treatment at The Royal Marsden since she was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2011. She said:
“After my diagnosis things moved very quickly and I’ve had a number of different treatments, surgery and radiotherapy. When I first started this trial a few years ago, I had a complete response to the chemotherapy combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel and doctors at the Royal Marsden saw a reduction in the size of my tumour which was such positive news to hear. Being on the trial was a great opportunity and knowing the results are benefitting other patients like myself makes a real difference, it’s really encouraging to know that research is being done in this area for such a rare type of cancer. Currently, I am continuing with this type of chemotherapy treatment and am monitored under the hospital with regular scans. Without this treatment and the ongoing care I’ve had at The Royal Marsden over the last nine years, I might not have been here.”
Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK's head information nurse, said:
“These results clearly demonstrate the need for ongoing research so that we can continually improve treatments for people with cancer. Without support for well-designed clinical trials, important improvements in treatment like this can’t be identified.”