A trial using PET scans to see how well chemotherapy is working for people with cancer of the pancreas

Cancer type:

Pancreatic cancer

Status:

Results

Phase:

Other

This trial was looking at whether PET scans can show how well chemotherapy is working for people with pancreatic cancer.

Doctors often use chemotherapy to treat pancreatic cancer. They usually do a CT scan to see if the treatment is working.

PET scans are a different type of scan. Doctors already use PET scans to measure cancer spread. But researchers hoped they might be able to help to show if a new treatment was working.

Before you have a PET scan, you have an injection of a small amount of a radioactive drug. In this trial, they used a drug called FDG which is radioactive sugar. When you have the PET scan, the FDG can show up cancer because cancer cells use glucose in a different way from normal tissue.

This aim of this trial was to look at the relationship between the amount of FDG taken up by the cancer and the length of time people lived after treatment.

Summary of results

The trial team had intended to recruit about 70 people. But it took longer than expected to do this and the trial was stopped when just 14 people had joined.

Everybody who took part had pancreatic cancer that had grown outside the pancreas (stage 3 or stage 4) and was starting chemotherapy that included the drug gemcitabine.

They had PET scans

  • Once or twice before starting chemotherapy
  • 3 weeks after starting treatment
  • 6 or 7 weeks after starting treatment

They also had CT scans to measure the size of their cancer.

For 11 of these people, the trial team have results from PET scans done after they started chemotherapy.

The results suggested that if the scan done 3 weeks after starting chemotherapy showed the cancer had got smaller, people went on to live longer. But as such a small number of people took part, the researchers weren’t able to collect enough data to show whether or not changes in the amount of FDG taken up by the cancer reflected the length of time people lived after treatment.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial.  As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) or published in a medical journal yet. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

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 David Tuveson

Supported by

Merck
Sharp & Dohme
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)

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Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 5869

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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