A study looking at a PET-CT scan to plan radiotherapy for thyroid cancer (THRIFT)

Cancer type:

Thyroid cancer





This study is to find out if a type of PET-CT scan called a FLT PET-CT scan can be used to plan radiotherapy for people with thyroid cancer.

The people in this trial have papillary thyroid cancer or follicular thyroid cancer. These 2 types are also called differentiated thyroid cancer.

Doctors usually remove differentiated thyroid cancer with surgery. But sometimes they can’t use surgery or the person is unsuitable for surgery. These people have radiotherapy to treat their cancer.

Your team will plan your radiotherapy to make sure it is going where the cancer is. To do this you will have a planning CT scan.

In this study the team also wants to do another scan called a PET-CT scan. The PET-CT scan uses a radioactive substance. The radioactive substance helps show up cells on the scan. The more active the cell, the more substance it absorbs. Cancer cells are very active, so they show up more clearly.

The aim of this study is to find out if it is possible to use FLT PET-CT scan for people with thyroid cancer.

There may be no direct benefit to you if you take part in this study. The information obtained from this study may improve treatment for people with thyroid cancer in the future.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this trial if you attend the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Newcastle upon Tyne and you

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Have already had radiotherapy to your head and neck
  • Are in bed or a chair all the time and need complete care (performance status 4)
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

This is a pilot study. It will recruit 3 people who attend the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, New Castle upon Tyne.

You have a PET-CT scan on the same day you have your planning CT scan.

You have an injection of radioactive substance, into a vein through a small plastic tube (cannula). You then lie on a couch for 45 to 60 minutes, and listen to music if you like. This gives time for the injected substance to be taken in (absorbed) by the cancer cells. After this you have the study PET-CT scan.

The team would also like to take a blood sample and study the sample of cancer (biopsy Open a glossary item) you had taken when you were diagnosed. They want to see if there is any link between these and the scan pictures. You give the blood sample when you have the small plastic tube put into your arm for the FLT injection.

Hospital visits

You have the PET-CT scan on the same day you have your planning CT scan for your radiotherapy. So you will be at the hospital longer.

Side effects

You should not have any side effects from taking part in this study, but you may have some discomfort where the needle is put into your arm.

You will be exposed to a small amount of extra radiation by having the study PET-CT scan. We are all exposed to a very small amount of radiation during the course of a normal day (background radiation). The amount of radiation you would have from this scan is the same as about 35 years of background radiation.

We have more information about having a PET-CT scan in our cancer tests section.

We also have information about thyroid cancer radiotherapy side effects in our external radiotherapy for thyroid cancer page.


Newcastle upon Tyne

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 Ujjal Mallick

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Medical Research Council (MRC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals 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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