Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial looking at radiotherapy for early stage bladder cancer (BS06)
This trial compared standard treatment with intensive radiotherapy for people with ‘high risk‘ early stage bladder cancer.
Bladder cancer is often diagnosed at an early stage, before the cancer has grown into the muscle wall of the bladder. Despite treatment, some people with ‘high risk’ bladder cancer have a greater chance of their cancer coming back afterwards.
Doctors usually treat later stage invasive bladder cancer with radiotherapy. They wanted to see if this could be a useful treatment for people with early stage bladder cancer.
The aims of the trial were find out
- If radiotherapy is a useful treatment for ‘high risk’ early stage bladder cancer
- More about the side effects
Summary of results
The researchers found that giving radiotherapy soon after diagnosis was not a useful treatment for ‘high risk’ early stage bladder cancer.
The trial recruited 210 people with high grade early stage bladder cancer. None of the patients had had treatment for bladder cancer before.
In this trial, 77 patients had only one area of cancer in their bladder. They were put into one of two groups
- Half had regular check ups with no further treatment unless there were signs the cancer had started to grow
- Half had radiotherapy
The other 133 patients in the trial had more than one area of cancer in their bladder. They were also put into one of two groups
- Half had standard treatment into the bladder (intravesical treatment)
- Half had radiotherapy
The researchers analysed the results in 2007. They looked at whose cancer had come back and how many people were alive after treatment. They found no difference between the radiotherapy and standard treatment groups in either part of the trial.
They concluded that radiotherapy does not reduce the chance of the ‘high risk ‘early stage bladder cancer developing into invasive bladder cancer.
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 (
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.
Dr Stephen Harland
Medical Research Council (MRC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer