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 zoledronic acid for cancer of the lung lining
This trial looked at using zoledronic acid to help reduce the thickening of, and the amount of fluid made by, the lining covering the lung (the pleura).
More about this trial
In some people with cancer, the lining between the lung and the chest wall can become thicker. For others this lining makes extra fluid which collects in the space between the lung and chest wall (pleural effusion). Both of these can cause breathing problems.
Doctors can drain the excess fluid away by putting a tube into the space between the chest wall and the lung. But the space can fill with fluid again. So they may need to keep putting the tube in, or keep it in to drain the fluid away when necessary.
The researchers who did this trial thought that zoledronic acid might help.
The aims of this trial were to find out if zoledronic acid could:
- shrink the thickening of the lining of the lung
- reduce the amount of fluid that collects in the space between the lung and chest wall
- help improve breathing and
quality of life.
Summary of results
The trial team found that having zoledronic acid wasn’t a useful treatment for people with breathlessness caused by excess fluid around the lung.
24 people took part in this trial. They were put into 1 of 2 treatment groups at random.
- 11 had zoledronic acid
- 13 had a dummy drug (
- used a number of tools to check how breathless people were after treatment
- looked at their scan results
- looked at how they rated their quality of life
- looked at the side effects
They had the results for 20 people. They found no significant difference between the 2 different groups.
The researchers say that the following factors could have affected these results. The group who had zoledronic acid:
- were more breathless at the start of the trial
- had more advanced cancer
- had a poorer quality of life
They also say that it was the first time zoledronic acid was used for fluid collections around the lungs and only a very small number of people took part.
The researcher concluded that although the treatment didn’t work, there might be possible benefits for certain groups of people. 2 people with pleural
We have based this summary on information from the research team. 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 Amelia Clive
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Bristol
North Bristol NHS Trust
UK Medical Ltd