A trial looking at the Mcm5 protein test to diagnose cancer of the bile duct, gallbladder or pancreas (TRANSBIL)

Cancer type:

Bile duct cancer
Biliary tree cancers
Gallbladder cancer
Pancreatic cancer





This trial is looking at a new test called the Mcm5 protein test to see if it can help diagnose cancer of the bile duct, gallbladder or pancreas.

Doctors use blood tests, scans and biopsies Open a glossary item to diagnose the following cancers

But it is not always easy to be sure of the diagnosis based on these results. Doctors hope a test that looks for a protein called Mcm5 will be better at diagnosing these cancers. Mcm stands for ‘minichromosome maintenance’ protein. This is a new test. Research so far suggests it is very accurate. But we need to make sure it is reliable before it can be widely used to diagnose cancer.

In this trial, patients will have the Mcm5 test as well as the usual tests, not instead of them. If you take part, the results of the Mcm5 test will not affect your treatment or care. But if the trial proves the Mcm5 test is good enough, it may benefit other patients in the future.

The aim of this trial is to find out if testing for the Mcm5 protein can help diagnose cancer of the bile duct, gall bladder or pancreas.

Who can enter

You can enter this trial if you are at least 18 years old and;

  • Have cancer of the bile duct, gallbladder or pancreas or
  • Are having tests to find out if you have cancer of the bile duct, gallbladder or pancreas or
  • Have a benign (non cancerous) condition of the bile duct, gallbladder or pancreas, such as pancreatitis Open a glossary item, sclerosing cholangitis or jaundice Open a glossary item caused by stones in the bile duct

Trial design

This trial will recruit more than 200 people into two groups.

Group 1 will be those with suspected cancer, or those who have already been diagnosed with cancer.

Group 2 will be those with a non cancerous condition (see eligibility criteria above). They are the ‘control group’, and they have the same tests as group 1. This is to make sure the Mcm5 test is positive for cancer, but negative for other conditions.

First, you will have standard tests such as blood tests, and ultrasound scan or a CT scan. You may have had these tests already, but your doctor has decided you need a biopsy as well.

After these tests, the doctors will take a biopsy. To do this they will either pass a tube down through your mouth and throat, through your stomach and into your gall bladder or pancreas (an ERCP). Or they will use a needle through your skin.

If you have an ERCP, the doctors will also take a small sample of fluid called bile Open a glossary item that is stored in the gall bladder. And they will remove a few cells using a very small brush.

The staff in the lab will test these samples in the usual way. But they will also test them for the Mcm5 protein.

Hospital visits

You will not have any additional tests for this trial. But the doctors will take some extra samples when you have a biopsy. You should not have to stay in hospital as a result of taking part in this trial.

Side effects

As you will not have treatments as part of this trial, there are no side effects. We have more information about having a biopsy.


Newcastle upon Tyne

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 Steve Pereira

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Medical Research Council (MRC)
University College London (UCL)

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


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

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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