“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”
A trial looking at using different scans to see how well treatment works for head and neck cancer
This trial is looking at whether using DW-MRI scans as well as PET-CT scans is useful to see how well treatment has worked for head and neck cancer. It is for people who are due to have treatment at Guy’s Hospital in London for a type of head and neck cancer called
More about this trial
Doctors often use PET-CT scans after chemotherapy or radiotherapy for head and neck cancer, so they can see how well treatment has worked. PET-CT scans measure the activity of cells, so doctors can see where cancer cells are growing. But sometimes healthy cells become inflamed after treatment and can look like cancer cells on the scan.
They also use MRI scans to see what the area of cancer looks like and how big it is. But sometimes areas of scar tissue can look like cancer cells on the scan.
Doctors are keen to find a more accurate way of seeing whether there are any cancer cells left after treatment. They hope that using a type of MRI scan called diffusion weighted MRI (DW-MRI) might be useful. DW-MRI scans measure the water movement between cells. Everyone taking part in this trial will have a DW-MRI before and after treatment.
You won’t have any direct benefit from taking part in this trial. But the results may help patients with head and neck cancer in the future.
The main aim of this trial is to find out whether DW-MRI scans are helpful for seeing how well treatment for head and neck cancer has worked. Doctors hope the scans will help them decide who needs more treatment.
Who can enter
You may be able to join this trial if all of the following apply. You
- Have been diagnosed with head and neck cancer that has spread to surrounding tissues
- Have a type of cancer called
squamous cell cancer
- Are a patient at Guy’s and St Thomas' Hospital in London
- Have an area of cancer at least 1cm which can be measured on a scan
- Are due to have radiotherapy, or chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the same time (chemoradiation), to treat your cancer
- Are well enough to be up and about for at least some of each day, even if you need help looking after yourself (performance status 0, 1, 2 or 3)
- Have good kidney function
- Are at least 18 years old
You cannot join this trial if any of these apply. You
The research team would like 70 people with head and neck cancer to take part in this trial.
To begin with, everyone taking part will have a standard MRI scan and a DW-MRI scan. Then you have the standard radiotherapy, or chemotherapy and radiotherapy together (chemoradiation), for your specific cancer type. Your doctor will tell you more about this.
After 6 weeks you will have a standard MRI scan and a DW-MRI scan. And about 3 months after you finish treatment you have a standard MRI scan, a DW-MRI scan and a PET-CT scan.
The research team will then analyse all the scans using a computer, to see how well treatment has worked. If they think there are still some cancer cells left, they will talk to you about other treatment options. They may also want to do another scan.
You will see the doctors and have some test before you can take part in this trial. The tests include a physical examination and blood tests. You may also have other tests and scans, and possibly a biopsy. This will depend on your individual situation.
You will need to go to the hospital for an extra scan 2 or 3 times during this trial. But the research team will try and do the scans on days that you will be at the hospital anyway. So you shouldn’t have to make any extra trips as part of this trial.
You don’t have any treatments as part of this trial, so there aren’t many side effects.
You will have an injection of something called contrast before the scan, which makes the scan pictures easier to analyse. There is a small chance that you could react to the contrast, but this is very rare. The research team will keep a close eye on you and make sure you have treatment straight away if you have a reaction.
We have more information about having
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Steve Connor
Professor Vicky Goh
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity
Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Royal College of Radiologists (Kodak Radiology Research Bursary)