A trial looking at an ultrasound during endoscopy to assess cancer of the oesophagus (COGNATE trial)

Cancer type:

Oesophageal cancer




Phase 3

This trial looked at the use of an endoscopic ultrasound scan (EUS) to help doctors assess oesophageal cancer.

Treatment for oesophageal cancer depends on what stage the cancer is. This means how big the cancer is, or if it has spread to the lymph nodes or another organ for example.

There are a number of tests to assess the stage of oesophageal cancer, such CT scan or abdominal ultrasound scan.

When this trial was done, doctors thought that another test may be more accurate. It is called an endoscopic ultrasound scan or EUS. It is an ultrasound scan done using a small tube that is passed through your mouth and down your throat (an endoscopy).

The aims of this trial were to find out if using EUS can

  • Help assess the stage of oesophageal cancer more accurately
  • Improve treatment and help people live longer
  • Improve quality of life

Summary of results

The research team found that endoscopic ultrasound scans were useful to assess cancer of the oesophagus.

This was a randomised trial. The people taking part were put into treatment groups by a computer. Neither they nor their doctor were able to decide which group they were in.

The trial recruited 223 people who were due to have treatment for oesophageal cancer

  • Half had a standard assessment and an endoscopic ultrasound scan (EUS)
  • Half had a standard assessment but didn’t have an EUS

The research team looked at a number of different things when they analysed the results. They found several main things.

The people who had an EUS lived longer than those who didn’t. This could be because their cancer was assessed more accurately and so they had treatment that was better for the stage of their cancer.

The patients who were most poorly got the greatest benefit from having an EUS. Those who were less poorly had less benefit.

The people who had an EUS had a slightly better quality of life. But the researchers concluded that could have happened by chance (the results were not statistically significant Open a glossary item)

When they looked at the cost of all the tests and treatments over 2 years, it cost less for those who’d had an EUS.

By the time this trial was finished, endoscopic ultrasound scans were already being widely used to assess cancer of the oesophagus. The research team concluded that this trial helped to confirm that this is a good test to use.

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

Professor Kenneth Park
Professor Ian Russell

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)

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Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle - 581

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Wendy took part in a new trial studying the possible side effect of hearing loss

A picture of Wendy

"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”

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