A trial comparing 2 combinations of chemotherapy with radiotherapy for oesophageal cancer (Neo SCOPE)

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

Cancer type:

Oesophageal cancer




Phase 2

This trial is comparing 2 different combinations of chemotherapy drugs alongside radiotherapy to treat cancer of the food pipe (oesophagus). The trial is supported by Cancer Research UK.

Doctors can treat oesophageal cancer with chemotherapy or a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy (chemoradiation) followed by surgery. Cisplatin and capecitabine is the standard chemotherapy Open a glossary item used in chemoradiation for oesophageal cancer. But some recent research has suggested that other chemotherapy drugs may be better.

In this trial, researchers want to compare different chemoradiation treatment plans. Everybody taking part has oxaliplatin and capecitabine chemotherapy to begin with, followed by radiotherapy alongside one of the following combinations of chemotherapy drugs

The aims of the trial are to compare the 2 treatment plans to find out

  • How well each treatment plan works
  • How safe they are
  • If it would be possible to do a phase 3 trial comparing chemoradiation with chemotherapy before surgery and which drug combination it would be best to use

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this trial if

  • You have oesophageal cancer that can be removed with surgery
  • You have a type of oesophageal cancer called adenocarcinoma
  • You have had an endoscopic ultrasound that shows your cancer is 8cm or less in length
  • You have had a PET-CT scan that shows your cancer hasn’t grown more than 3cm beyond where your food pipe (oesophagus) connects to your stomach
  • You are well enough to carry out all your normal activities, apart from heavy physical work (performance status of 0 or 1)
  • You have satisfactory blood tests results
  • Your heart works well enough – your doctor will test for this
  • You are willing to use reliable contraception during the trial if there is any chance you or your partner could become pregnant
  • You are at least 18 years old

You cannot enter this trial if

  • Your cancer has spread to other parts of your body, apart from the muscle at the bottom of the rib cage (diaphragm Open a glossary item) or the tissue at the centre of the chest that cover the lungs – you can ask your doctor about this
  • You have already had treatment for your oesophageal cancer
  • You have had a heart attack in the last 6 months
  • You have heart pain (angina) that isn’t controlled or any other serious heart problem
  • You aren’t able to have surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • You have, or have had, another cancer that could affect you taking part in this trial
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

This is a phase 2 trial. It will recruit 85 people.

It is a randomised trial. The people taking part are put into treatment groups by a computer. Neither you nor your doctor will be able to decide which group you are in. And neither of you will know which group you are in.

To begin with everyone has 2 cycles of oxaliplatin and capecitabine chemotherapy. You have oxaliplatin once every 3 weeks as a drip into a vein. Capecitabine is a tablet. You take it every day Monday to Friday twice a day for 6 weeks.

After the 2 cycles of chemotherapy you are put into 1 of 2 groups at random.

People in group 1 have radiotherapy with oxaliplatin and capecitabine before surgery. People in group 2 have radiotherapy with carboplatin and paclitaxel before surgery. 

Neo SCOPE trail diagram

You have 5 weeks of radiotherapy with chemotherapy (chemoradiation).

If you are having oxaliplatin you have it every 2 weeks as a drip into a vein. You take capecitabine as before for 5 weeks.

If you are having carboplatin and paclitaxel, you have them every week as a drip into a vein.

If your doctor thinks you are suitable, you have surgery to remove your cancer 6 to 8 weeks after finishing chemoradiation.  

If you agree to take part in this study, the researchers will ask for blood samples and a piece of the cancer tissue when you had a biopsy Open a glossary item to diagnose your cancer. If you don’t want to give these samples for research, you don’t have to. You can still take part in the trial.

Hospital visits

You see the doctor to have some tests before taking part in this trial. These tests include

During treatment you see the doctor at the start of each cycle of chemotherapy and then every week during chemoradiation.

After treatment you have a CT scan to see how well the treatment worked.

If your doctor feels you are suitable, you have surgery 6 to 8 weeks after treatment to remove your cancer.

After surgery you see the doctor at a month, 6 months and a year.

Side effects

The most common side effects of the chemotherapy drugs used in this trial are

Oxaliplatin can also cause a feeling of not being able to swallow or breathe properly.

The most common side effects of radiotherapy include

  • Tiredness
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Skin reaction such as redness, soreness and itching

We have more information about oxaliplatin, carboplatin, capecitabine and paclitaxel in our cancer drugs section. We have more information about radiotherapy for oesophageal cancer on our radiotherapy for oesophageal cancer section.

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 T Crosby

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Velindre NHS Trust

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/11/058.

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 9184

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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