A study looking at the causes of oesophageal cancer (MOSES)

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

Cancer type:

Oesophageal cancer





This study is looking at the causes of oesophageal cancer and possible risk factors. The number of people diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus is increasing. At the moment, the incidence of oesophageal cancer in the UK is one of the highest in the world. The reasons for this are unclear.

Earlier studies have suggested what the causes might be. For example, acid indigestion or reflux, being overweight, smoking, drinking too much alcohol and a poor diet. The aim of this study is to find out which factors increase the risk of developing oesophageal cancer in the UK.

The researchers will interview people who have recently been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus. They will collect medical information about them and also take blood samples.

A better understanding of the causes may help doctors to give people better advice on how to reduce their risk of oesophageal cancer.

Who can enter

You can enter this trial if you

  • Are a patient at one of the recruiting hospitals AND
  • Have recently been diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus and your cancer is greater than 1cm above the gastro-oesophageal junction (your doctor will be able to say whether this applies to you)
  • Are aged at least 18 years of age
  • Are well enough to take part in this study (performance status 0, 1 or 2)
  • Are able to give written consent to take part in the study

You cannot enter this trial if you are very unwell and you need to spend most of your time in bed (performance status 3 or 4).

Trial design

This study will recruit 208 people recently diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in the Midlands area. If you are a patient at one of the recruiting hospitals, you may be asked to take part by a doctor or specialist nurse. If you agree, your contact details will be passed to the research team.

Someone from the research team will then contact you to arrange a time for an interview. This can take place at home, or in hospital, whichever you prefer. At the interview, a research doctor or nurse will go through a questionnaire with you. This will include questions about acid reflux symptoms, medical history, family history and your diet. This will take about 20 minutes.

If you agree, you will have a blood sample taken. This will be used to find out whether you have an infection in your stomach called Helicobacter pylori. Doctors think this might be important in protecting people against oesophageal cancer. We need further research to look into this.

The research team will also ask you if they can keep your blood sample in storage. They may then use it in the future to look at other factors that are important in the development of oesophageal cancer.

The research doctor or nurse will also measure your height, index and ring finger and leg length.

Information will also be collected from

All people in these groups will have an interview and a blood test. These groups will act as control groups. Their interview and blood test results will be compared to those people with oesophageal cancer to find out which factors may or may not cause oesophageal cancer.

For every patient with oesophageal cancer recruited onto the study, 2 people who do not have cancer will be recruited. Those in the general population group will receive a letter from their GP asking them to take part.

The researchers will also look at hospital medical records to identify people who have had an endoscopy and who have been found to have either oesophagitis or Barrett’s oesophagus. For each person with oesophageal cancer, two people with oesophagitis and two people with Barrett’s oesophagus will also be recruited. These people will receive a letter from their consultant asking them to take part.

Hospital visits

Taking part in this study will not affect your treatment for oesophageal cancer. You will continue to see your consultant regularly, as you would normally.

You will not have any extra hospital visits as a result of taking part in this study, unless you arrange to have your interview at hospital.

Side effects

This study does not involve a treatment and so there are no side effects associated with taking part in this trial.

Your skin may bruise slightly after you have your blood sample taken.

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 N.J. Trudgill

Supported by

NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 865

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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