A Trial to Evaluate the Potential Benefit of Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Small Bowel Adenocarcinoma (BALLAD)

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2025
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Belgian Group of Digestive Oncology
Updated on 2 March 2022


An open-label, randomised, controlled, multi-centre, trial with disease free survival as the primary end point. The worldwide collaboration is referred to as GLOBAL BALLAD and consists of a number of individual parallel prospective studies addressing the same objectives with similar designs brought together under the framework of the International Rare Cancer Initiative. This protocol is for BALLAD BELGIUM, which is the component of GLOBAL BALLAD.


The utility of adjuvant chemotherapy in the management of Small Bowel Adenocarcinoma (SBA) remains unproven and awaits the results of a large, global, prospective, phase III, randomised, controlled trial. Across the 830 million population of North America and Europe, there are approximately 3,000 patients with R0 resected and potentially cured SBA every year who would be potentially eligible for such an adjuvant chemotherapy trial.

Given the absence of good-quality and evidence-based data, it has been agreed that a trial considering adjuvant chemotherapy versus no chemotherapy was appropriate for patients with stage I-IV SBA in whom the oncologist and patient feel that the benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy is uncertain. For those patients with stage I-IV SBA who, with their oncologists, feel that the potential benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy is certain (and hence are not willing to accept randomisation to the 'no chemotherapy' arm), a randomisation between single agent fluoropyrimidine versus doublet fluoropyrimidine and oxaliplatin chemotherapy will be offered. Tumour stage will be used as a stratification factor. Those patients who do not consent to be randomised will be offered registration to allow collection of demographic, clinicopathological, epidemiological and survival data, thereby making optimal use of the rare patient population available. In addition, archival Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) tissue and contemporaneous venous blood samples will be collected from every registered patient to allow molecular profiling and future translational research. A questionnaire about underlying risk factors (e.g. Crohn's disease, coeliac disease, Lynch syndrome etc) will be completed along with the other collected data on all registered patients.

The trial hypotheses are that:

  1. Adjuvant chemotherapy results in an improved outcome (DFS and OS) over observation alone after potentially curative R0 surgery for stage I, II, III and IV SBA
  2. Adjuvant fluoropyrimidine and oxaliplatin chemotherapy results in an improved outcome (DFS and OS) over fluropyrimidine alone after potentially curative R0 surgery for stage I, II, III and IV SBA.

Condition Small Bowel Adenocarcinoma
Treatment Oxaliplatin, Fluoropyrimidine
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04257461
SponsorBelgian Group of Digestive Oncology
Last Modified on2 March 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

R0 resected stage I, II or III SBA
No evidence of residual or metastatic disease at laparotomy and on CT/MRI imaging of chest, abdomen and pelvis
Patients must be registered and randomised within 12 weeks of surgery and commence chemotherapy within 14 weeks of surgery
ECOG Performance Status of 0 or 1
Absolute neutrophil account 1.5 x109/l
Platelet count 100 x 109/l
Haemoglobin 90 g/l (previous transfusion is allowed)
AST and ALT 2.5 x upper limit of normal (ULN). (At least one of ALT or AST MUST be performed)
Creatinine clearance > 50 ml/min (calculated by Cockcroft Gault or Wright equation) or measured by EDTA
Serum bilirubin 1.5 x ULN
Signed and dated informed consent indicating that the patient has been informed of all the pertinent aspects of the trial prior to enrolment
Age 18 years
Willingness and ability to comply with scheduled visits, treatment plans and laboratory tests and other trial procedures

Exclusion Criteria

Non-adenocarcinoma histology of small bowel tumour which includes but is not confined to lymphoma, GIST, carcinoid or other neuroendocrine tumour, squamous carcinoma, melanoma or sarcoma
Previous neo-adjuvant chemo(radio)therapy for SBA
Clinically significant cardiovascular disease (i.e. active or < 12 months since cerebrovascular accident, myocardial infarction, unstable angina, New York Heart Association [NYHA] grade II or greater congestive heart failure, serious cardiac arrhythmia requiring medication, uncontrolled hypertension)
Pregnancy/lactation or of child bearing potential and not using medically approved contraception. (Postmenopausal women must have been amenorrhoeic for at least 12 months to be considered of non-childbearing potential)
Previous malignancy other than adequately treated in situ carcinoma of the uterine cervix or basal or squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, unless there has been a disease free interval of at least 3 years and treatment was with curative intent
Known or suspected dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) deficiency
Known untreated coeliac disease (may be enrolled if diet controlled), untreated chronic inflammatory bowel disease or other cause of malabsorption or intestinal obstruction
Grade 2 peripheral neuropathy
Administration of any investigational drug within 28 days or 5 halflives, whichever is longer, prior to receiving the first dose of trial treatment
Previous hypersensitivity to platinum salts
Patients with clinically significant, active infections, or any other serious medical condition in which chemotherapy is contraindicated will be excluded
Patients with untreated vitamin B12 deficiency are excluded from receiving folinic acid as part of their chemotherapy regimen. However, these patients may be eligible for treatment with capecitabine fluoropyrimidine therapy, where no folinic acid is administered as part of the treatment regimen
Patients with clinically significant sensorineural hearing impairment are excluded from receiving oxaliplatin but will be eligible for the fluoropyrimidine monotherapy provided as a clinician's choice for patients in group 1 randomised to either observation or chemotherapy
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