A trial looking at intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) for advanced cancer of the larynx and hypopharynx

Cancer type:

Head and neck cancers
Laryngeal cancer

Status:

Results

Phase:

Phase 1

This trial looked at different doses of IMRT for cancer of the larynx (voice box) or hypopharynx.

Radiotherapy is one of the treatments used to treat cancer of the larynx or hypopharynx. But radiotherapy has side effects, such as a dry mouth and difficulty swallowing.

Radiotherapy has improved in recent years, and doctors are often able to shape the beam to the exact treatment area. For some cancers they can also vary the strength within the beam, so the treatment is very precise. This is called intensity modulated radiotherapy, or IMRT. It means that there is less damage to the healthy tissue around the area being treated.

Everyone taking part in this trial had IMRT. Some had a lower dose and some had a higher dose.

The aims of this trial were to find out

  • The best dose of IMRT to give to patients with these types of cancer
  • How well the treatment works
  • More about the side effects

Summary of results

The research team found that using a higher dose of radiotherapy in this way was safe.

This trial recruited 60 people who had stage 3 or 4 cancer of the larynx or hypopharynx.  Of these 60 people, 29 had a lower dose of radiotherapy (DL1) and 31 had a higher dose (DL2).

The research team looked at the side effects and found that more people who had the higher dose of radiotherapy had severe problems swallowing for 4 to 6 weeks after treatment. This was

  • Nearly 6 out of 10 people (59%) in DL1
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 people (87%) in DL2

Similar numbers of people in both groups had other side effects, and none of them were classed as ‘severe’.

The research team also looked at how well the treatment worked. They found that the cancer responded to treatment in

  • Nearly 8 out of 10 people (79%) in DL1
  • Over 8 out of 10 people (84%) in DL2

They found that the cancer had not come back in the laryngeal or hypopharyngeal area up to 2 years after treatment for

  • Over 6 out of 10 people (64%) in DL1
  • Nearly 8 out of 10 people (78%) in DL2

They also looked at how many people hadn’t needed to have their larynx (voice box) removed up to 2 years after treatment. This is sometimes called laryngeal preservation. It was

  • Nearly 9 out of 10 people (89%) in DL1
  • Nearly 10 out of 10 people (96%) in DL2

The research team concluded that the higher dose of radiotherapy was safe to use.

Researchers are now looking at this treatment in a larger phase 3 trial called ART-DECO.

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 (peer reviewed) and published in a medical journal. 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

Prof Chris Nutting

Supported by

Cancer Research UK

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 315

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

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“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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