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A trial looking at how to treat fluid on the lung (TAPPS)

This trial is looking at 2 ways to treat fluid around the lung (pleural effusion).

When cancer affects the lungs, fluid can sometimes collect between the sheets of tissue covering the outside of the lung and lining the chest cavity (the pleura). The collection of fluid is called a pleural effusion.

Doctors can drain the fluid away by putting a needle between the pleura and connecting it to a drainage tube. This is called a pleural tap. Sadly the fluid can come back.

When this happens doctors can treat you with a procedure called pleurodesis. Doctors drain the fluid away and then put sterile talc into the space between the pleura. This makes them stick together to try to prevent any more fluid gathering. In this trial, doctors want to compare two different ways of putting talc into the space between the pleura.

The aims of this trial are to find out

  • The best way to put talc into the space between the pleura
  • Which way, if any keeps the fluid away for longer
  • About the side effects


Start 10/10/2012
End 31/05/2016



Who can enter

You may be able to enter this trial if you

  • Have a collection of fluid in your chest (pleural effusion) caused by your cancer
  • Are able to have a test that looks at the lining of your lung (thoracoscopy)
  • Are at least 18 years old  

You cannot enter this trial if

  • Your doctor doesn’t think this is the best treatment for you
  • You are not able to have pleurodesis
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

This is a randomised trial. The people taking part are put into 2 treatment groups by a computer. Neither you nor your doctor will be able to decide which group you are in.

People in both groups have the fluid drained from their chest and sterile talc put into the space between the pleura (pleurodesis). The trial is comparing different ways of putting the sterile talc in.

People in group 1 have the sterile talc put in as a paste using the drainage tube.

For people in group 2, the doctors will use a small camera to look at the lining of the lung (pleura) before spraying the sterile talc onto it.

The trial team will ask you to fill out a questionnaire before you have the pleurodesis, then 1, 3 and 6 months later. The questionnaire will ask about how you have been feeling. This is called a quality of life study.

The trial team will also ask you to complete a questionnaire asking how breathless you are, or if you have any pain. This is completed before pleurodesis, for 7 days afterwards, and then weekly while you are on the trial.

If you agree to take part in this trial, the researchers will ask for a sample of the fluid drained from your chest. They will also ask for extra blood samples for research. If you do not want to give extra samples you don’t have to.     

Hospital visits

Before the trial you see the doctors and have

You have a chest X-ray and see the doctors

  • Immediately after pleurodesis
  • 24 hours after pleurodesis
  • When you go home from hospital
  • 1 month later
  • 3 months later
  • 6 months later

This is the end of your participation in the trial.

Side effects

The most common side effects of pleurodesis are

  • Fever
  • Infection

We have more information about pleurodesis.

Location of trial

For more information

Please note: we cannot help you to join a specific trial. Unless we state otherwise in this trial summary, you need to print this page and take it to your own doctor to discuss.

Find out how to join a trial or contact our cancer information nurses for other questions about cancer by phone (0808 800 4040), by email, or at

The Information Nurses
Cancer Research UK
Angel Building
407 St John Street

Chief Investigator

Dr Nick Maskell

Supported by

NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
North Bristol NHS Trust
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Updated: 10 December 2014