A study looking at a different type of MRI scan to help plan treatment for retroperitoneal sarcoma (PIRS)

Cancer type:

Soft tissue sarcoma





This study is looking at a type of MRI scan called functional MRI. Researchers want to see if it can give more information than scans used at the moment for planning radiotherapy or surgery to treat a soft tissue sarcoma affecting the soft tissues behind the organs in your tummy (abdomen Open a glossary item). Doctors call this type of sarcoma a retroperitoneal sarcoma.

If you have a retroperitoneal sarcoma, you may have surgery to remove it. You may also have radiotherapy to help shrink the cancer before surgery. When planning these treatments, doctors usually use CT scans. But in this study, researchers want to see if a type of MRI scan called functional MRI (fMRI) gives them more information. These scans can show what is happening inside the cancer, rather than simply its structure.

They hope that fMRI will help them to improve how doctors assess tumours before surgery. And, help them to see how well a tumour has responded to radiotherapy.

The main aim of this study is to see if fMRI scans can help improve treatment planning for people with retroperitoneal sarcoma.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this study if you

  • Have a sarcoma affecting the soft tissues behind the organs in your tummy (abdomen Open a glossary item)
  • Are due to have surgery to treat your sarcoma, with or without radiotherapy to shrink the sarcoma first

You cannot enter this study if you can’t have an MRI scan for any reason, such as you have some metal or a pacemaker Open a glossary item in your body, or you are frightened by small spaces.

Trial design

This study will recruit 30 people with retroperitoneal sarcoma who are due to have surgery with or without radiotherapy. The people taking part will have up to 3 fMRI scans.

If you are having surgery on its own, you have 2 fMRI scans before your surgery.

If you are having radiotherapy to shrink the cancer before surgery, you also have 2 fMRI scans before you start radiotherapy. You will have one further scan 2 weeks after you finish radiotherapy.

The research team will compare the fMRI scans with standard scans.

Hospital visits

You will make up to 3 extra hospital visits to have the study fMRI scans. You may be able to have the first 2 scan sessions on the same day if this helps.

Each fMRI scan takes between 30 and 40 minutes. If you are able, you will have some contrast as an injection into a vein. This is to help the scans show up more clearly.

Side effects

You may have a headache or feel sick after having the MRI contrast injection.

It is possible that the scans may show up a new health problem. If this happens, the team will talk to you about it and, if you agree, will talk to your GP or specialist so you can have treatment if needed.



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 Christina Messiou

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Facility in Imaging
The Royal Marsden 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.

Wendy took part in a new trial studying the possible side effect of hearing loss

A picture of Wendy

"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”

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