A study looking at a type of scan called SPECT CT to see if it can help doctors to diagnose liver tumours

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

Cancer type:

Bile duct cancer
Biliary tree cancers
Gallbladder cancer
Liver cancer





This study is looking at a new way of diagnosing liver tumours, using a scan is called 123I SPECT CT. This new scan is a combination of a CT scan and a SPECT scan Open a glossary item. Liver tumours include a type of cancer that starts in the liver called hepatocellular carcinoma, as well as gallbladder cancers and bile duct cancers.

If your doctor thinks you may have a cancer in the liver, you will have tests including a physical examination, blood tests and an ultrasound scan. Liver tumours can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, and you may need more scans to work out exactly where the cancer is and how far it has grown (the cancer stage Open a glossary item). Scans including CT scans and MRI scans help with this, but though important, can add to the delay in getting a diagnosis and starting treatment.

Doctors in this study are looking at another type of scan already used to diagnose thyroid cancer. It is called a 123I SPECT CT scan.  We know from research that the radioactive tracer used in this scan is taken up by liver cancer cells. So doctors here want to find out if it can help them see liver cancer more clearly. The aim of this study is to see if 123I SPECT CT is better at identifying and giving detailed information about liver tumours than scans doctors already use.

This study is recruiting people who are already known to have a liver tumour. You will not have any direct benefit from taking part in this study, but the results will be used to help people with liver cancer in the future.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this study if

You cannot enter this study if you

  • Have serious heart problems that are uncontrolled
  • Have a mental health condition or social situation that would make it hard for you to do what the study team need you to do
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have any other condition that would make you unwell if you took part, or affect the results of the study

Trial design

This pilot study will recruit 20 people.

When you come for the study scan, the team will put a small plastic tube into a vein in your arm or hand. You have an injection of the radioactive tracer through this tube.

You then lie flat on the scanner bed. After the injection the team will take pictures of the liver. You need to lie still for about 30 minutes for this. You can then get up and move around. An hour and a half later, they will take more pictures. You need to lie still again for this, for another half an hour. After this, you can go home.

Hospital visits

You have the study scan at Charing Cross Hospital, London.

Side effects

You will be exposed to some extra radiation during this study. 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 altogether from this study would be similar to about 3 and a half years of background radiation.

The team advise that you should avoid prolonged close contact with pregnant or breastfeeding women, or small children for 12 hours after the scan. This is to protect them from being exposed to extra radiation.

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 Harpreet Wasan

Supported by

Cochin Hospital
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 10795

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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