Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.
A trial comparing different ways of checking lymph nodes in the chest for non small cell lung cancer (ASTER)
Doctors use a number of different tests to find out the stage of lung cancer. This helps them to decide on the best treatment.
One of these tests is a
To have this test a small ultrasound probe is put into your food pipe and stomach (an
Some hospitals already use ultrasound scans to look at lymph nodes. But doctors were not sure if they were as good as having surgery.
The aim of this trial was to find out if using ultrasound scans is as good as taking surgical biopsies to assess lymph nodes.
Summary of results
The trial team found that using ultrasound scans worked just as well as taking biopsies to assess lymph nodes.
- 118 had surgical biopsies taken of the lymph nodes
- 123 had endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) followed by a surgical biopsy if the ultrasounds did not find any of the lymph nodes to be abnormal
The researchers then compared how accurate the 2 different ways of assessing the lymph nodes were. They found it worked
- 79 out of every 100 times (79%) for surgical biopsies
- 94 out of every 100 times (94%) for EUS and EBUS
They found no difference in the number of complications between surgery and ultrasound.
The trial team concluded that EUS and EBUS worked just as well as taking surgical biopsies to assess lymph nodes.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
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.
Dr Robert Rintoul
Health Technology Assessment Unit of the Department of Health
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)