A study looking at ways to diagnose lung cancer earlier (Study 2)

Cancer type:

Lung cancer
Non small cell lung cancer





This study is looking at ways of working out who may be at higher risk of getting lung cancer. As well as recruiting people who are undergoing tests for lung cancer, this study will also include a group of healthy volunteers. The study is supported by Cancer Research UK.

We know that smoking plays a big part in causing lung diseases. But it is not fully understood why some people who smoke get lung cancer and others do not.

Differences in our genes may affect how cells in the airways react to substances in cigarette smoke. In a related study, the researchers are looking at cells from the airways of smokers and ex-smokers to get a better understanding of these differences. This may help to predict who could be at greater risk of lung cancer.

The study team also want to see if blood cells, and cells lining the nose or mouth, react to cigarette smoke in the same way as cells in the airways. If they do, it may be possible to develop new ways of testing to see who is at higher risk of lung cancer. In this study, researchers will look at cells from people who are diagnosed with lung cancer as well as cells from healthy volunteers.

You will not get any direct benefit from taking part in this study. But the researchers hope the results can be used to help people in the future.

Who can enter

You may be able to join the part of the study recruiting people having lung cancer tests if

You cannot join this part of the study if you

  • Have never smoked
  • Have had lung cancer in the past
  • Are known to be at high risk of bleeding for any reason

You may be asked to join the group of healthy volunteers if you are at least 18 years old and have previously given your permission for researchers to contact you about taking part in research.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a smoker, an ex-smoker or have never smoked, as long as you

  • Haven’t had lung cancer in the past, and your doctor doesn’t suspect that you have it now
  • Aren’t known to be at high risk of bleeding for any reason

Trial design

The study team want to recruit 150 people who are diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer . They also want to recruit 200 healthy volunteers. The healthy volunteers can be either smokers, ex-smokers or non smokers, but the group will include at least 50 people who have never smoked.

If you are having lung cancer tests and agree to take part in the study, the researchers will take an extra blood sample. They will also take some samples of cells from inside your nose and mouth.

They use a small plastic instrument called a curette to gently remove some of the cells from the lining of each side of your nose. They may ask if you would be willing to have this done again at a later date. You don’t have to agree to this if you don’t want to. You can still take part in the study.

To take the samples from inside your mouth, they use a small brush to gently rub the inside of each of your cheeks to collect some of the surface cells. This does not hurt.

As well as collecting the samples, the study team will ask you some questions about your past medical history, your smoking history and whether you or any close relatives have ever had cancer or lung disease.

If you agree to take part in the study as a healthy volunteer, you will give samples and answer a questionnaire as described above. You will also have some breathing tests Open a glossary item to measure how well your lungs work.

Hospital visits

People having tests for lung cancer can have the samples taken and answer the questions when they are at the hospital for other tests.

Taking the samples of cells from inside your nose takes less than 5 minutes. Taking the samples from your mouth only takes about 30 seconds each side. Answering the questions shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes.

If you agree to have more samples taken from your nose later on, the study team will arrange to do this during a routine hospital appointment.

People joining the study as a healthy volunteer will have a 45 minute hospital appointment to have all the tests and answer the questions.

Side effects

Taking the samples from your nose can be slightly uncomfortable. Taking the cells from inside your mouth does not hurt.

You may have some pain or discomfort and a small bruise where you have the blood test.



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 Robert Rintoul

Supported by

Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Papworth Hospital 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.

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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