A trial looking at aprepitant to treat a cough in people with lung cancer (CALC Trial)

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

Cancer type:

Lung cancer
Non small cell lung cancer
Small cell lung cancer





This is a trial to find out if a drug called aprepitant helps people who have a cough as a symptom of lung cancer.

Cough is a common symptom of lung cancer. It can affect peoples’ quality of life. In this trial, researchers want to see if a drug called aprepitant can help.

Doctors already use aprepitant to control sickness related to chemotherapy. They think it may also treat a cough.

The aim of the trial is to find out if aprepitant reduces coughing more than a dummy drug (placebo Open a glossary item) in people with lung cancer.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this trial if you

  • Have been diagnosed with lung cancer and are having outpatient appointments at The Christie Hospital
  • Have had a cough for at least 4 weeks
  • Are well enough to be up and about for at least half the day (performance status 0, 1 or 2)
  • Are at least 18 years old

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Are going to start an anti cancer treatment during the time you would be taking part in the trial
  • Are due to have surgery during the time you would be taking part in the trial (or any other procedure for which you would need to have a drug to make you sleepy or a general anaesthetic)
  • Are currently taking part in another trial of an experimental drug
  • Are already having aprepitant
  • Have had a bad reaction to aprepitant in the past
  • Have had a cold, or a sinus, lung, chest or throat infection in the last 4 weeks
  • Have problems with constipation
  • Are taking any other medication that could interact with aprepitant – the trial team will advise you about this
  • Have any other medical condition that the trial team think could affect you taking part
  • Could possibly become pregnant

Trial design

The trial will recruit 20 people at The Christie Hospital in Manchester. Everybody taking part will have both aprepitant tablets and dummy tablets (placebos Open a glossary item) at different times.

You take either aprepitant or a dummy tablet once a day for 3 days. Then you have 3 days without treatment, followed by either aprepitant or a dummy tablet for another 3 days.

Whether you have aprepitant first or the dummy tablet first will be decided at random. Neither you nor your doctor can decide the order in which you have the tablets, and neither of you will know which ones you have first.

You wear a cough monitor for 24 hours before you start the first lot of tablets. This measures how often you cough. A member of the trial team will attach a small microphone to your chest and another one to your clothing. The monitor itself sits in a small bag that you wear around your waist.

You wear the cough monitor for another 24 hours on the 3rd day of treatment and once more on the last day of treatment.

The trial team will also ask you to

  • Fill out some questionnaires about your cough
  • Give 3 blood samples

Hospital visits

Taking part in the trial means having 3 extra hospital visits. Each one lasts about an hour. A few days after you finish taking the tablets, a researcher will phone you to ask if you had any side effects.

Side effects

Side effects of aprepitant are rare but can include

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 Fiona Blackhall

Supported by

NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
NIHR Fellowships Programme
NW Lung Charity
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospital of South Manchester (UHSM)

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 10797

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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