A study looking at a new type of scan to understand more about treatment outcomes for Non Hodgkin lymphoma

Cancer type:

Blood cancers
High grade lymphoma
Low grade lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma




Phase 1

This study used magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to study chemical activity in Non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and predict treatment outcomes.

It was for people with a type of NHL called diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) who were having chemotherapy Open a glossary item for the first time.

More about this trial

NHL is usually treated with a combination of:

But some people need to have more intensive treatment than others. Doctors do not always know which type of treatment works best for individual people.

In this study, doctors looked at a type of scan called magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). It is like a normal MRI scan. But, it gives information about the activity inside the cancer, by looking at chemical changes.

The aims of this study were to:

  • see if the MRS scan can predict how well people with DLBCL do after treatment (prognosis Open a glossary item)
  • see if scans that look at the cancer’s chemical activity can be used to choose the most appropriate treatment

Summary of results

The study team concluded that MRS scans could be used to predict how well people with DLBCL do after treatment.

20 people took part in this study. Everyone had an MRS scan within 2 weeks of starting chemotherapy.

Researchers looked at how well people did 6 months after finishing chemotherapy. They found that:

  • in 13 out of 20 people (65%) there was no sign of their cancer (a complete response Open a glossary item)
  • in 7 out of 20 people (35%) their cancer got smaller (a partial response Open a glossary item)

Around 11 months after chemotherapy, they found that:

  • in 11 out of 20 people (55%) their cancer had come back or grown (progression Open a glossary item)
  • in 5 out of 20 people (25%) there were no signs of their cancer

4 out of 20 people (20%) didn’t attend all the follow up visits Open a glossary item.

Researchers compared these results with the MRS scan results.

They found that the amount of chemical activity measured on the MRS scan was lower in people whose cancer disappeared (complete response). People whose cancer came back or grew had a higher level of chemical activity.

Researchers concluded that the MRS scan could be used to see the likely outcome of people with DLBCL.  And to find out which people have a higher risk of their cancer coming back.

The study team think more work needs to be done on this. But scans that look at chemical changes in cancer might be useful in future to choose the best treatment for people.

We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. 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 John Griffiths

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Department of Health (UK) 
EPSRC Cancer Imaging centre
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Medical Research Council 
National Health System (UK)
National Institute of Health (US) 
NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre 


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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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