A randomised trial of two-drug versus multi-drug chemotherapy in the treatment of operable osteosarcoma

What type of chemotherapy can help to treat people with bone cancer?

What was this study about?

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer. In the 1980s, doctors aimed to treat osteosarcoma by operating to remove the cancer, and by giving chemotherapy. The chemotherapy was given both before and after the operation. However, even with this treatment, about half of the people with osteosarcoma did not survive in the long-term.

Some research which was done in the USA suggested that a longer course of chemotherapy using a range of drugs might be more effective. The BO03 trial aimed to test if this was the case.

What difference did this study make?

Only about a half of the patients who were randomised to receive the multi-drug regimen actually managed to complete the course of treatment. There was no significant difference in the length of time that patients survived in each of the two groups.

As a result of this trial, the standard two-drug chemotherapy treatment continued to be offered to people with osteosarcoma.

Type of study

Randomised trial

Contact details

Who funded the study?

The Medical Research Council.

When did it take place?

This trial recruited patients between 1986 and 1993. The results were published in 1997.

Who was included?

407 patients with osteosarcoma were recruited to the trial. Half of these were randomised to receive the standard two-drug chemotherapy treatment. The other half were given the newer, multi-drug treatment that had been tried in the USA.