A study looking at new types of MRI scans to see how chemotherapy affects bowel cancer cells

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Bowel (colorectal) cancer
Colon cancer
Rectal cancer





This study is using 2 types of MRI scan to look at changes in the blood supply to cancer cells. It is for people having chemotherapy for bowel cancer that has spread (advanced bowel cancer). This study is supported by Cancer Research UK.

Doctors can treat advanced bowel cancer with chemotherapy. They may also use new drugs that act on specific targets in cancer cells to stop them forming their own blood supply.  But these new drugs don’t help everybody. Researchers want to find out how to tell in advance whether a patient is likely to benefit from them.

Before looking at the effect of a combination of chemotherapy and a targeted drug, researchers want to learn more about the effect that chemotherapy alone has on cancer cells. In this study, they are using 2 types of MRI scan called dynamic contrast enhanced MRI (DCE MRI) and diffusion weighted imaging MRI (DWI MRI).

DWI MRI shows changes to cancer cells and DCE MRI can provide information about the blood supply to the cancer.

The researchers want to find out if any changes they see on the scans relate to how well people do after having chemotherapy. They will also take extra blood samples to see if proteins and cells in the blood (markers) are linked to any changes they see on the scans.

You will not get any direct benefit from taking part in this study and it will not change your treatment in any way. The results may help to improve treatment for people with bowel cancer in the future.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this trial if you are having treatment at The Christie Hospital and you

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Have already had chemotherapy for advanced bowel cancer
  • Have had chemotherapy to try to stop your cancer coming back after surgery (adjuvant therapy Open a glossary item) in the last year
  • Can’t have MRI scans because you have metal implants such as pacemakers, surgical clips, pins or plates, or you are allergic to an injection you have before an MRI scan called contrast medium
  • Have another medical condition such as an infection or problems with bleeding that would make it unsafe for you to have extra blood tests
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

The study will recruit 20 people in Manchester. Everybody taking part will have XELOX or FOLFOX chemotherapy.

Taking part in the study means you have 6 extra MRI scans

  • 2 scans before you start treatment
  • A scan on the 2nd or 3rd day of treatment
  • A scan on the 8th day of treatment
  • Another scan after about 2 weeks of treatment
  • 1 more scan after 3 months

Before each scan, you have an injection of a dye (called contrast medium) into a vein in your arm.

You also have a blood test at each scan visit and another one at the end of your treatment.

Hospital visits

You will have 6 extra hospital visits to have the MRI scans. Each of these visits will last about an hour. You may  be able to have the first 2 scans on days that you are at the hospital for other reasons.

Side effects

MRI is very safe. It can be quite noisy in the scanner but the study team will give you earplugs.

You may have some bruising where you have the blood tests.

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 Gordon Jayson

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 8734

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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