A study to understand more about how new blood vessels form after a treatment for primary liver cancer

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Liver cancer




Phase 2/3

This study is looking at blood samples to find out what causes new blood vessels to form after old vessels have been blocked by ‘embolisation’ treatment. It is for people taking part in the TACE trial and those having embolisation who are not in the trial.

If you have liver cancer, you may have a treatment called ‘embolisation’. Embolisation is a way of cutting off the cancer’s main blood supply. The doctor injects very tiny beads that block the blood vessel Open a glossary item to the part of the liver containing the cancer. This reduces the blood supply, and so also the supply of oxygen and food to the cancer. The researchers hope that this will cause the cancer to shrink.

But blood vessels can grow back, allowing the cancer to start growing again. If doctors could understand why this happens, they may be able to stop it, making embolisation treatment work better. Researchers will examine blood samples to try and find factors that increase after embolisation. The aim of this study is to understand how blood vessels grow back after embolisation.

You will not have any direct benefit from taking part in this study, and it is unlikely to change your treatment plan in any way. But the results will be used to help people with cancer in the future.

Who can enter

You can enter this study if you 

  • Have primary liver cancer (hepatic cell carcinoma, or HCC) that is contained within the liver, but cannot be removed with an operation
  • Have either one single tumour that is more than 3cm, or have more than one tumour in your liver
  • Have satisfactory blood test results
  • Are well enough to take part (performance status 1 or 2)
  • Are at least 16 years old
  • Are willing to use reliable contraception throughout the trial and for 3 months after treatment, if there is a chance that you could become pregnant

You cannot enter this study if you

  • Have liver cancer that has spread outside the liver or to another part of the body (metastasised)
  • Have already had treatment for your liver cancer
  • Have very severe liver cirrhosis (Child-Pugh grade C)
  • Have an infection, or have problems with bleeding
  • Have problems with your liver which have damaged your brain or nervous system (hepatic encephalopathy)
  • Have a build up of fluid in your tummy (ascites) which is still there after treatment with water tablets (diuretics)
  • Have a blockage in one of the major blood vessels supplying blood to the liver (hepatic artery or portal vein)
  • Are allergic to contrast medium Open a glossary item
  • Have had any other cancer in the past, and the doctors think this may make it difficult to assess how well you respond to this treatment
  • Have poor liver or kidney function
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

This study will not affect your care or treatment. It is looking to translate a scientific discovery into a new test. Researchers call this a ‘non interventional translational study’.

Everyone will have a series of blood tests before and after their embolisation treatment. The researchers will examine these blood samples for chemicals given off by cells that help new blood vessels to grow.  If you are taking part in the TACE trial the research team will use the blood samples you give through this.

You will have one of these blood tests before your embolisation treatment, and then at 24 hours, 1 week, 2 weeks and 3 weeks after embolisation.

Hospital visits

You will have your first 2 blood tests while you are in hospital for embolisation. And the final blood test at your follow up appointment.

You will need to make 2 extra hospital visits for the blood tests 1 week and 2 weeks after embolisation.

Side effects

You may have a small bruise where you had your blood test.

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

Prof Tim Meyer

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle - 2793

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

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

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