A trial to see if furosemide can relieve breathlessness for people with lung cancer

Cancer type:

Lung cancer





This trial looked at whether furosemide can help relieve breathlessness caused by lung cancer. It recruited people whose cancer started in the lung, or had spread to the lung from somewhere else in the body.

Being short of breath is a common problem for people with cancer in their lung. It can be difficult to treat and doctors are always looking for new ways to help. Furosemide (which used to be called frusemide) is type of drug called a diuretic. They help people to get rid of excess fluid, in their legs for example. They are sometimes called ‘water tablets’ because they make you pass more urine.

You usually have diuretic drugs as a tablet or injection. A nebuliser is a machine that turns a liquid into a vapour so you can breathe it in. When this trial was done, there was some evidence to suggest that nebulised furosemide may help with breathlessness caused by lung cancer.

Summary of results

The trial team found that nebulised furosemide was not a useful treatment to relieve breathlessness in people with lung cancer.

15 people took part in this trial. Everyone had nebulised furosemide on one day, nebulised saline (a weak salt solution) on another, and a day without either treatment.

After each treatment, everybody completed some number reading and arm exercises to measure breathlessness. The patients then rated how breathless they felt during the exercises.

The trial team looked at these results and found there was no difference in how breathless people felt between the 3 different groups.

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 (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

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 Andrew Wilcock

Supported by

Hayward House Cancer Care Trust
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)

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Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 763

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

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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