A pilot study looking at robotic surgery for ovarian cancer (MIRROR-RCT Pilot)

Cancer type:

Ovarian cancer





This pilot study Open a glossary item wants to find out whether it is possible to do a randomised trial Open a glossary item looking at robotic surgery for advanced ovarian cancer.

It is open to women who have:

And who are having chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy Open a glossary item).

These cancers are treated the same way. When we use the term ovarian cancer in this summary, we are referring to all 3.

More about this trial

The aim of surgery for advanced ovarian cancer is to remove as much as possible of the cancer. The standard way to do this is open surgery. To do this the surgeon makes a large cut down the middle of your tummy (abdomen). 

Robotic surgery is similar to keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery Open a glossary item. It uses a system called robotic assisted keyhole surgery. 

The surgeon sits at a control unit a few feet away from the patient. They control the movement of a set of robotic surgical instruments, guided by a video camera. This is how they remove the cancer tissue. There is a surgical assistant by the bedside. It is the surgeon who does the surgery. With this type of surgery the surgeon makes several small cuts instead of one big cut. 

Researchers are not sure what role robotic surgery has in ovarian cancer. It could have fewer side effects or complications than open surgery. To find this out they need to a randomised clinical trial Open a glossary item

They have already done a feasibility study. The results show that it would be possible to do a randomised study. This pilot study is the next step before they do a large randomised clinical trial. 

The aims of this pilot study are to find out:

  • whether women are willing to take part in a randomised trial
  • more about the role of robotic surgery in ovarian cancer 
  • more about the side effects and complications of robotic surgery
  • more about the affect robotic surgery has on quality of life

Who can enter

The following bullet points are a summary of the entry conditions for this study. Talk to your doctor or the study team if you are unsure about any of these. They will be able to advise you. 

Who can take part

You may be able to join this study if all of the following apply. You:

  • have epithelial ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer or primary peritoneal cancer that has spread outside the pelvis (stage 3c) or to another part of the body (stage 4
  • have a pelvic mass that is 8cm or less across as measured on a CT scan Open a glossary item. Your doctor will know this. 
  • are at least 18 years old

Who can’t take part

You cannot join this study if any of these apply. 

  • You are not able to have surgery to remove as much visible disease as possible after chemotherapy.
  • You need specialist surgical support to have surgery and the specialist team has recommended open surgery. Talk to your doctor about this.

Trial design

This is a pilot study. The study team need about 20 women to take part. 

It is a randomised study. A computer puts you into 1 of 2 groups. Neither you nor your doctor can choose which group you are in. The groups are:

  • laparoscopy group. You have a laparoscopy to decide whether you have robotic surgery or open surgery. You then have surgery straight away either by robotic surgery or open surgery depending on what the surgeon considers is best. 
  • open surgery group

Out of every 3 women who join the study, 2 will go into the laparoscopy group.

Everyone has a general anaesthetic Open a glossary item for their surgery. 

Laparoscopy group
You have keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery. The surgeon makes a small cut in your tummy (abdomen). Through the cut they put a small tube with a camera at the end to look at how much cancer they can see. They then decide whether you can have the robotic surgery or need open surgery to remove as much of the visible cancer as possible. 

Open surgery
You have the standard open surgery to remove as much of the visible cancer as possible. 

The study team will look at your medical records to get information about your surgery and the care after. 

Quality of life
You fill in questionnaires before surgery and for a time after surgery. The team will tell you how often and when you need to fill in the questionnaires after surgery. 

The questions ask about:

  • whether you have pain or not
  • what you are able to do 
  • your general health

These are quality of life questionnaires.

Hospital visits

You see the doctor to discuss the study and see if you’d like to take part.

There are no extra hospital visits if you take part in the study.

Side effects

The healthcare team monitor you during surgery and after surgery for any possible complications. 

Laparoscopy group
During your surgery if there are any complications it may be necessary for the surgeon to do open surgery. 

Possible complications of ovarian cancer surgery include:

  • infections 
  • bowel problems
  • bladder problems
  • bleeding

 We have more information about ovarian cancer surgery.



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

Mr Simon Butler-Manuel

Supported by

GRACE charity
Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust
University of Surrey
Intuitive Foundation

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


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

Wendy took part in a new trial studying the possible side effect of hearing loss

A picture of Wendy

"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”

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