A trial looking at Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) for advanced cancer of the thyroid

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

Cancer type:

Thyroid cancer




Phase 1

This trial is trying to find the best dose of IMRT for cancer of the thyroid.

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

Researchers are developing a new method of radiotherapy called Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy, or IMRT for short. IMRT allows the radiotherapy beams to be shaped more accurately and so may avoid more of the surrounding normal tissue. So, you may have fewer side effects.

IMRT may also allow a higher dose to be given, which may mean the treatment is better at killing the cancer. This trial is trying to work out the best and safest dose of IMRT to give to patients with thyroid cancer. It will look at the effectiveness and side effects of this treatment.

The results of this study will be helpful for further trials. When a safe dose has been established, further trials will compare IMRT with standard radiotherapy.

Who can enter

You can enter this trial if you

  • Have been diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid and your doctor has recommended that you have external radiotherapy
  • Are at least 18 years of age
  • Are well enough to take part in the trial

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Have been diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding - you must have a negative pregnancy test if you are female and there is any possibility that you could be pregnant

Trial design

You can only take part in this trial if you are a patient at the Royal Marsden Hospital.

If you take part in this trial, you will have IMRT to your cancer. Your first visit to the radiotherapy department will be for planning your treatment. Then you will have IMRT every day (Monday to Friday) for 6 weeks.

The researchers in this trial will give the first 15 patients a standard dose of IMRT. The dose will be gradually increased for the next 15 patients and so on. The dose will only be increased if the side effects the previous group have had are not serious and so it is safe to increase the dose. The doctors will keep a close eye on you throughout your treatment.

Hospital visits

Before your treatment, you will be examined by a doctor and have a CT scan. To have your radiotherapy treatment, you will need to travel to the hospital every day, Monday to Friday for 6 weeks. If you are not able to travel by yourself or a friend or relative cannot take you, the hospital may be able to provide you with hospital transport.

A doctor will see you every week during your treatment. They will ask how you are feeling and if you have any side effects. When your treatment has finished, you will be seen regularly at the Royal Marsden Hospital. Your appointments will be arranged with you individually.

Side effects

All treatments have side effects. There is information about the side effects of radiotherapy on CancerHelp UK.

The most common side effects of radiotherapy to the head and neck area are

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 C. 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.

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.”

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