A trial looking at how often to monitor people with Barrett's oesophagus (BOSS study)

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

Cancer type:

Oesophageal cancer




Phase 3

This trial is to find out if it is better to monitor people with Barrett’s oesophagus every 2 years or to wait until they have a change in their symptoms.

Barrett's oesophagus is a condition where the cells in the lining of the food pipe (oesophagus) change and become abnormal. People with Barrett's oesophagus have a small increased risk of developing oesophageal cancer.

People with Barrett's oesophagus may have regular tests called endoscopies to check if the abnormal cells have become more severe or cancerous. This is called surveillance.

It is not clear yet whether surveillance picks up oesophageal cancer at an earlier stage. Some doctors think that these regular checks may not be necessary and it may be better for people to have an endoscopy only if they need it.

Having an endoscopy can cause anxiety and for a small number of people it may cause short term side effects, such as discomfort, pain or breathing problems. So it is important that people do not have tests they do not need.

The aim of this trial is to see if it is better for people with Barrett’s oesophagus to have an endoscopy every 2 years or to wait until their symptoms get worse.

Who can enter

You can enter this trial if you

  • Have Barrett’s oesophagus which is 1cm or more from where your stomach joins the food pipe (the gastro-oesophageal junction Open a glossary item)
  • Are at least 18 years old

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Have severe cell changes (high grade dysplasia) in the lining of your oesophagus
  • Have been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer
  • Have a medical condition which means you cannot have an endoscopy, such as severe breathing or heart problems
  • Live outside the UK

Trial design

This is a randomised trial. 3,400 people will be recruited into 2 groups. 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.

If you are in group 1, you will have an endoscopy and samples of tissue taken (biopsies) every 2 years. If you are in group 2, you will only have an endoscopy if you have symptoms.

Your doctor will ask you to fill out a quality of life questionnaire and will ask about any medication you are taking. You fill out a questionnaire before you start the trial, and then every 2 years for about 10 years.

If you develop symptoms at any time, you will have an urgent endoscopy, no matter which group you are in.

Hospital visits

If you are in group 1, you go to the outpatient department in your hospital every 2 years for an endoscopy. You fill out your questionnaire at the same time.

If you are in group 2, you only need to go to the hospital for an endoscopy if you start having symptoms. You will be sent questionnaires every 2 years to fill in at home.

For this trial, your doctor will follow your progress for 10 years.

Side effects

The side effects of an endoscopy may include

  • Chest discomfort
  • Pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Soreness when you swallow

These are usually short term. You can read about having an endoscopy on CancerHelp UK.

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 Hugh Barr

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 3050

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

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

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