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 using urokinase to help drain fluid from around the lung (TIME3 UK)
This trial used urokinase to help drain more than 1 pocket of fluid from around the lung to make breathing easier.
More about this trial
Some people with cancer have fluid collect between the lung and chest wall. This fluid takes up space that the lung would normally expand into when you breathe in. This can make breathing difficult and make you short of breath. This is called pleural effusion.
Doctors treat this by draining the fluid away. They do this by putting a tube into the space between the chest wall and lung. After draining the fluid they might also put talc in the space. This is to stick the lung to the chest wall and stop more fluid collecting. This is called pleurodesis.
But sometimes there is more than 1 pocket of fluid between the lung and chest wall. This makes it difficult to drain all the fluid away.
Urokinase is a drug that could help break down these pockets. Doctors might then be able to drain the fluid more easily.
The aim of this trial was to compare urokinase with a dummy drug (
- help control and improve shortness of breath caused by pleural effusion
- improve the success rate of pleurodesis
Summary of results
The research team found that urokinase didn’t improve shortness of breath caused by pleural effusion.
- 36 people had urokinase
- 35 people had the dummy drug (placebo)
The team looked at:
- how breathless people were over the 4 weeks after treatment
- how likely it was for the pleurodesis to fail after 1 month
When they compared the 2 groups they found there was no major difference between them.
The trial team concluded that urokinase didn’t improve shortness of breath or pleurodesis.
We have based this summary on information from the research team. As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (
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 Naj Rahman
Medical Research Council (MRC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI)
Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit
University of Oxford