A study looking at who is more likely to have radiotherapy side effects (REQUITE)

Cancer type:

Breast cancer
Lung cancer
Non small cell lung cancer
Prostate cancer
Small cell lung cancer





This study is trying to work out which patients who have radiotherapy are more likely to have side effects than others. The people taking part have one of the following cancers

About half of all people diagnosed with cancer have radiotherapy as part of their treatment. Radiotherapy uses radiation Open a glossary item to destroy cancer cells. The dose of radiotherapy you can have is limited because of the risk of damaging the healthy cells that surround the cancer.

People vary in how sensitive they are to radiation. About 5 out of every 100 patients (5%) are more at risk of having radiotherapy side effects than other people.

In recent years, researchers have been developing ways of trying to work out which people are very sensitive to radiation, before they start treatment. This includes looking for body substances they can measure (biomarkers Open a glossary item). But these methods are not ready to use yet. So the amount of radiotherapy that doctors currently give is limited to the doses that the most sensitive patients can have.

In this study, researchers want to test these new methods and biomarkers thoroughly so that they may be used in the future.

Please note - taking part in the study will not change your treatment and it is unlikely to benefit you directly.

Who can enter

You may be able to join this study if you are over 18 and in one of the following situations

You cannot join this study if any of these apply. You

  • Have cancer that has spread to another part of your body
  • Have had any other type of cancer in the past apart from non melanoma skin cancer
  • Have already had radiotherapy to the same part of your body that is going to be treated now
  • Are going to have proton therapy Open a glossary item
  • Are not well enough to take part because you have other medical problems
  • Are known to have HIV or hepatitis
  • Are pregnant

As well as the above, if you have breast cancer, you can’t take part if you

  • Are male
  • Have cancer in both breasts
  • Have had surgery to remove you whole breast (a mastectomy)
  • Are having chemotherapy at the same time as radiotherapy (you can take part if you had chemotherapy before surgery)
  • Are having radiotherapy to only part of your breast
  • Have breast implants (unless they are removed during surgery)

Trial design

This is an international study taking place in many countries. The researchers need 5,300 people to take part.

If you take part, you will see a member of the research team at the beginning of your cancer treatment. They will ask you to complete some questionnaires asking about any symptoms you have and about your general wellbeing.

They will ask you to complete the same questionnaires again when your radiotherapy is finished and then at routine follow up appointments. These will be at least once a year for two years or more after your treatment.

They will also ask you to give a blood sample. If possible, they will collect the sample when you are having other blood tests as part of your standard treatment or follow up.

If you are having treatment for breast cancer, the study team may ask your permission to take photographs of your breasts at the beginning or your treatment and again 2 years later. This will help them to assess any changes to your breast. It will not be possible to identify you from the photographs as they will not include your face.

The study team will also look at your medical notes to collect information on your cancer and your treatment. All this information will be confidential Open a glossary item.

Hospital visits

It takes about 20 minutes each time you complete a questionnaire. You can do this during your routine hospital appointments, or you can finish filling in the questionnaire at home.

Side effects

You may have a bruise where the blood sample is 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

Professor Catharine West

Supported by

European Commission’s FP7 health programme
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Manchester

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 11356

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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