A study to find out more about coughing in people with lung cancer (CLiC study)

Cancer type:

Lung cancer
Non small cell lung cancer
Small cell lung cancer





This study was done to understand more about cough in people with lung cancer.

We know that coughing can affect many areas of daily life such as communication, appetite and sleep. It can also cause pain and anxiety.

The research team doing this study wanted to understand more about cough and how to assess it in people with lung cancer.

The aims of the study were to look at people with lung cancer and

  • Look at different tools to assess cough
  • Find out more about cough
  • Find factors that could predict how bad a cough could be

Summary of results

The research team found that there were good methods of assessing cough, and found factors that could help predict cough.

This study recruited 177 people with lung cancer. About 1 out of 5 had small cell lung cancer (SCLC), and about 4 out of 5 had non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

About 3 out of 5 people taking part had a cough that they felt was bad enough to need treatment.

The research team used a number of different ways of assessing cough in people with lung cancer. They found that cough recorders and some cough questionnaires were good ways of measuring cough, and that people with lung cancer have a severe cough.

They compared their results to results from other studies which had looked at people with other lung conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They found that those with lung cancer had the most severe cough.

They looked at factors which could help predict how bad a cough would be, and found that it is likely to be worse if you

  • Are a woman
  • Are less able than normal to be up and about and look after yourself (what doctors call a poor performance status)
  • Have asthma
  • Have a chest infection
  • Have indigestion or sickness

They found that how severe a cough was did not depend on factors related to the cancer itself, or on smoking.

The study team concluded that cough could be assessed and certain factors can help predict how bad it will be. They hope that this information will be used to help plan future trials looking at treatment for cough in lung cancer patients.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the study.  As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) or published in a medical journal yet. The figures we quote above were provided by the study team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Alexander Molassiotis

Supported by

NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 8739

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Cara took part in a clinical trial

A picture of Cara

"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”

Last reviewed:

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