A study to increase the chance of benefit for people taking part in early clinical trials of anti cancer drugs

Cancer type:

All cancer types





This study is looking at testing tumour samples of cancer patients thinking about taking part in early phase clinical trials at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in Sutton. Researchers want to look at genes Open a glossary item and try to identify genetic changes in each person’s cancer cells. They hope to then be able to give the anti cancer drugs that are most likely to be of benefit to them.

Cancer drugs need to go through a number of stages (phases) of clinical trials before they are licensed Open a glossary item to be sold in the UK. But not all drugs that enter a phase 1 trial are successful enough to complete phases 2 and 3 and become licensed.

Researchers think that more targeted drugs would be successfully developed if patients were tested to see if their cancer cells have changes that can be targeted by a drug that is being tested.  

People who take part in early phase trials have usually had all the standard treatment they can for their cancer. The research team will recruit people who are in this situation. If there is an early phase trial at the Royal Marsden looking at a drug that may be suitable for them, they will see if the patient can join that trial.

They hope that such testing will not only benefit the trial, but may also help those taking part, as the drug would only be looked at in those who might respond to it. You may not have any direct benefit from taking part in this study. But the results will be used to help people with cancer in the future.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this study if you are being cared for by doctors at the Royal Marsden Hospital, or you can ask your doctor to refer you to the Royal Marsden to take part. People taking part will

  • Have a cancer that has spread to another part of their body
  • Have had all the standard treatments Open a glossary item they can have for their type of cancer
  • Be suitable to take part in one of the earliest trials in the development of a new treatment (a phase 1 trial) – you can ask your doctor about this
  • Have test results showing they have cancer cells with a target that is in early phase clinical trials
  • Be at least 18 years old

Trial design

This study aims to recruit 1,200 people.

Everyone taking part will give one or more blood samples. The study team will also ask permission to study any samples of your cancer (biopsies) that have been routinely stored by the hospital.

The study team will also ask if you would be happy to give some extra samples. These would be

You do not have to agree to give these 3 samples if you don’t want to.

The team will treat all your samples anonymously, so no one will be able to link the results to you.

Hospital visits

You may not have to make any extra hospital visits to take part in this study. Where possible, you will give your study samples when you are at the hospital for a routine appointment.

Side effects

You may have a bruise where you gave your blood samples.

Having a biopsy may cause

  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • Redness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Light headed feeling
  • Swelling
  • Infection where you had the biopsy

Rarely, depending on where your biopsy is taken, the procedure may affect nearby organs. To help prevent this you would usually have the biopsy under an X-Ray or ultrasound scan to guide the doctor.

Draining fluid from your chest or tummy area (abdomen) may cause

  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Infection (this is rare)



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 Johann de Bono

Supported by

Biomedical Research Council (BRC)
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


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

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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