Ramucirumab plus docetaxel versus placebo plus docetaxel in patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma after platinum-based therapy (RANGE): a randomised, double-blind, phase 3 trial

Lancet. 2017 Nov 18;390(10109):2266-2277. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32365-6. Epub 2017 Sep 12.


Background: Few treatments with a distinct mechanism of action are available for patients with platinum-refractory advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma. We assessed the efficacy and safety of treatment with docetaxel plus either ramucirumab-a human IgG1 VEGFR-2 antagonist-or placebo in this patient population.

Methods: We did a randomised, double-blind, phase 3 trial in patients with advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who progressed during or after platinum-based chemotherapy. Patients were enrolled from 124 sites in 23 countries. Previous treatment with one immune-checkpoint inhibitor was permitted. Patients were randomised (1:1) using an interactive web response system to receive intravenous docetaxel 75 mg/m2 plus either intravenous ramucirumab 10 mg/kg or matching placebo on day 1 of repeating 21-day cycles, until disease progression or other discontinuation criteria were met. The primary endpoint was investigator-assessed progression-free survival, analysed by intention-to-treat in the first 437 randomised patients. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02426125.

Findings: Between July, 2015, and April, 2017, 530 patients were randomly allocated either ramucirumab plus docetaxel (n=263) or placebo plus docetaxel (n=267). Progression-free survival was prolonged significantly in patients allocated ramucirumab plus docetaxel versus placebo plus docetaxel (median 4·07 months [95% CI 2·96-4·47] vs 2·76 months [2·60-2·96]; hazard ratio [HR] 0·757, 95% CI 0·607-0·943; p=0·0118). A blinded independent central analysis was consistent with these results. An objective response was achieved by 53 (24·5%, 95% CI 18·8-30·3) of 216 patients allocated ramucirumab and 31 (14·0%, 9·4-18·6) of 221 assigned placebo. The most frequently reported treatment-emergent adverse events, regardless of causality, in either treatment group (any grade) were fatigue, alopecia, diarrhoea, decreased appetite, and nausea. These events occurred predominantly at grade 1-2 severity. The frequency of grade 3 or worse adverse events was similar for patients allocated ramucirumab and placebo (156 [60%] of 258 vs 163 [62%] of 265 had an adverse event), with no unexpected toxic effects. 63 (24%) of 258 patients allocated ramucirumab and 54 (20%) of 265 assigned placebo had a serious adverse event that was judged by the investigator to be related to treatment. 38 (15%) of 258 patients allocated ramucirumab and 43 (16%) of 265 assigned placebo died on treatment or within 30 days of discontinuation, of which eight (3%) and five (2%) deaths were deemed related to treatment by the investigator. Sepsis was the most common adverse event leading to death on treatment (four [2%] vs none [0%]). One fatal event of neutropenic sepsis was reported in a patient allocated ramucirumab.

Interpretation: To the best of our knowledge, ramucirumab plus docetaxel is the first regimen in a phase 3 study to show superior progression-free survival over chemotherapy in patients with platinum-refractory advanced urothelial carcinoma. These data validate inhibition of VEGFR-2 signalling as a potential new therapeutic treatment option for patients with urothelial carcinoma.

Funding: Eli Lilly and Company.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / pathology*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Docetaxel
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy / methods
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Assessment
  • Survival Analysis
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / mortality
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Taxoids
  • Docetaxel
  • ramucirumab

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02426125