A study to understand more about why cancer of the ovary can stop responding to chemotherapy

Cancer type:

Ovarian cancer





This study is looking at blood and tissue samples for changes to DNA in people having chemotherapy for ovarian cancer.

Doctors usually treat ovarian cancer with surgery and chemotherapy. If chemotherapy works well for you, you may have it again if your cancer comes back. But unfortunately, ovarian cancer can stop responding to chemotherapy. Researchers believe this may happen because the cancer may contain lots of cells that are not affected by chemotherapy (they are ‘resistant’ to chemotherapy). These cells continue to divide, passing their resistance on.

This resistance may be caused by certain changes to a cell's DNA. One of these changes is called methylation. Methylation is one way that genes are switched off in cancer cells, and changes in methylation may affect how cells respond to treatment.

These changes show up in blood and cancer tissue. Researchers want to look at cancer cells before and after chemotherapy, to see if they can study these changes. The aim of this study is to learn more about why some cells die after chemotherapy, and others do not. You will not have any direct benefit from taking part in this study, and it is unlikely to change your treatment plan in any way. But the results of the study will be used to help people with cancer in the future.

Who can enter

You can enter this study if you have one of the following

You must have had chemotherapy containing a platinum drug Open a glossary item and be in one of the following situations

You must also be at least 18 years old to enter this trial.

Trial design

This study will recruit 75 people. Everyone taking part will give the team permission to

  • Take a sample of blood (about 2 teaspoons)
  • Use a piece of stored cancer tissue removed during any surgery you may have had in the past
  • Look at your medical notes to find out more about your cancer

Depending on your medical situation, you will also give the team permission to

  • Use a sample of your cancer tissue removed during your next surgery or
  • Use some fluid that will be drained from your abdomen (ascitic fluid) or
  • Take a sample of tissue from your cancer (a biopsy) – this is just for the study

If you are having the biopsy just for the study, the team will use a CT scanner or ultrasound to guide the needle to the cancer. The doctor will numb the area with a local anaesthetic Open a glossary item. You may have some mild pain or discomfort afterwards, but painkillers should control this. You may have some stitches after your biopsy, which a nurse will need to remove after a few days.

Any of the samples you give for this study may also be used in future research into ovarian cancer and drug resistance.

Hospital visits

You give your study blood sample when you come to hospital for your planned procedure, so this will not result in any extra hospital visits.

If you have a biopsy for the study, you will need to make an extra visit to the hospital for this. And again a few days later if you had stitches after your biopsy, so that the nurse can remove these.

Side effects

Most of the samples in this study are taken from procedures that are part of your planned treatment. So you will not have any side effects from these as a result of taking part.

If you have a biopsy, there is a risk of

  • Infection
  • Tearing the bowel wall (perforation) – this is very rare

You can find out more about surgery for ovarian cancer and having fluid drained from your abdomen (paracentesis Open a glossary item) on CancerHelp UK.



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 Ros Glasspool

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Scottish Gynaecological Cancer Trials Group

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.

Cara took part in a clinical trial

A picture of Cara

"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”

Last reviewed:

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