A study looking at PET scans in advanced cancer of the pancreas

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

Cancer type:

Pancreatic cancer





This is a study to see if PET scans can provide more information about advanced pancreatic cancer and how treatment is working.

If pancreatic cancer can’t be removed with surgery, or has spread to other parts of the body, doctors may treat it with chemotherapy. Gemcitabine is a drug they often use. After a few weeks of treatment, you may have a CT scan to see if the chemotherapy is working.

But research in other cancers suggests that a scan called a PET scan may provide more valuable information about the cancer. And a PET scan may allow doctors to see how treatment is working sooner than other scans such as a CT scan.

In this study, the researchers want to find out if PET scans can improve their understanding of how pancreatic cancer behaves and how well treatment works.

Taking part in this study will not affect your chemotherapy treatment in any way. The results may help to improve the treatment of pancreatic cancer in the future.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this trial if you are being treated at the Christie Hospital and

  • Have pancreatic cancer that can’t be removed with surgery or has spread to another part of your body and you are going to have chemotherapy that includes the drug gemcitabine
  • Have at least one area of cancer that is 2cm or more in size and can be seen on a CT or MRI scan
  • Are well enough to be up and about for at least half the day (performance status 0, 1 or 2)
  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Can lie on your back comfortably for at least an hour

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Are known to be allergic to the dye that is used during a scan (contrast medium)
  • Have any other medical condition or mental health problem that the study team think could affect you taking part
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

This study will recruit between 10 and 14 people. Everybody taking part is having chemotherapy for advanced pancreatic cancer. You may have the drug gemcitabine on its own, or you may have it alongside another drug such as capecitabine. You have 4 week cycles of treatment.

If you take part in the study, you have a PET scan before you start treatment and another one after the 1st cycle of treatment. The study team will ask 4 people to have 2 PET scans before they start treatment. This is because scans can sometimes look slightly different. Having 2 scans before treatment will give the researchers more confidence that any changes they see later really are due to treatment.

You have the PET scans at the Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre, which is next to the Christie Hospital.

Before each scan, a member of the study team will put 2 small plastic tubes into veins in your arms. Soon after the scan starts, they inject a small amount of a radioactive tracer drug called FLT into 1 of the tubes.

Cancer cells that are multiplying will take up more of the tracer, and show up on the scan. By comparing the scans before and after the 1st cycle of chemotherapy, the researchers can work out how the treatment is affecting your cancer.

During each scan, they will take some blood samples from the other small tube in your arm.

The study team will ask your permission to get a sample of cancer that was removed in the past when you had surgery or a biopsy Open a glossary item. They will use this sample, along with the blood samples to learn more about how fast your cancer is growing.

Hospital visits

You will have 2 or 3 extra hospital visits to have the scans. Each PET scan lasts about an hour.

Side effects

There is a small risk of bruising and bleeding where you have the small tubes put into your veins.

Taking part in this study means you will be exposed to some extra radiation. The amount of radiation you will receive is about the same as the average amount of background radiation from 15 years living in England. The trial team will discuss this with you if you have any questions.

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

Dr Azeem Saleem

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund
University of Manchester

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 10981

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

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

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