Rhabdomyosarcoma clinical trial

We are delighted to have been able to support an extension to the RMS 2005 clinical trial. The RMS 2005 trial is for children and young people under 21 years of age who have rhabdomyosarcoma which is a cancer affecting muscle and soft tissue. There are different types of rhabdomyosarcoma, some of which can be more difficult to treat, and children in the RMS 2005 trial receive treatment depending on their age; where the tumour is located; the size of the tumour and the type of rhabdomyosarcoma. All the patients on the trial receive an initial 6 months of intensive chemotherapy and they may also have surgery and radiotherapy.

One of the aims of the trial is to see whether it is beneficial to give additional chemotherapy to children who have tumours which are more difficult to treat. These patients are randomly allocated to two groups: one group does not receive any further chemotherapy whilst the other group receives a further 6 months of ‘maintenance’ chemotherapy. This is relatively low dose chemotherapy that can be given as an outpatient. By following the two groups of patients doctors will be able to see whether the additional chemotherapy improves the outcome for these children or whether it just adds a greater burden of treatment with extra visits to the hospital but no difference in survival.

In order to decide whether maintenance chemotherapy is beneficial the trial needs to recruit a large enough number of patients to be able to see if there is any difference between the two groups. The funding from CCLG will allow the trial to continue to recruit patients for a longer period of time so that enough patients are recruited and this important question can be answered.