A study looking at adding an increased dose of radiation to CHART radiotherapy to treat non small cell lung cancer (CHART ED)

Cancer type:

Lung cancer
Non small cell lung cancer




Phase 1

This study looked at improving the outcome of radiotherapy for non small cell lung cancer. This meant adding extra radiotherapy sessions to an intensive radiotherapy treatment plan called CHART. 

Cancer Research UK supported this study.

More about this trial

Your doctor may suggest that you have radiotherapy if you have non small cell lung that can’t be removed by surgery. This is called radical radiotherapy Open a glossary item

There are 2 ways of having radiotherapy treatment. One is to have radiotherapy every weekday for between 4 and 7 weeks.

The other way is to have 3 treatments every day, including weekends, for about 12 days. This is called CHART radiotherapy (Continuous Hyperfractionated Accelerated RadioTherapy’).

Researchers thought that radiotherapy might work even better if they  increased, or ‘escalated’ the dose. 

This study also used radiotherapy beams that were shaped to, or ‘conform’ to the shape of the cancer (‘conformal radiotherapy’). This helped to avoid healthy tissue. So it was possible to give a bigger dose of radiation without increasing serious side effects

The main aims of this study were to:

  • see if it was possible to give CHART radiotherapy with higher doses of radiation
  •  find the best dose to give
  • see how well this treatment plan worked to treat non small cell lung cancer
  • learn more about the side effects

Summary of results

The study team found that giving CHART radiotherapy at higher doses was possible. They also found the best dose to use in future studies.  

This was a phase 1 study. 18 people took part. 

The team were interested in particular side effects. These side effects would limit how much radiotherapy they could give. They are called dose limiting side effects and included:

  • severe inflammation of the food pipe (oesophagus) during or soon after treatment
  • severe heart problems
  • severe lung problems such as inflammation (pneumonitis) 
  • severe problems with the spinal cord

The team looked at increasing the dose of radiotherapy in 3 groups:

  • CHART with 2 extra doses of radiotherapy
  • CHART with 4 extra doses of radiotherapy
  • CHART with 6 extra doses of radiotherapy

There were 6 people in each group. None of the 18 people who took part in the study had any dose limiting side effects. 

The team also looked at how the cancer responded to the treatment. There was a response to the treatment in 11 out of the 18 people who took part. Of these:

  • there was no sign of cancer in 5 people (a complete response)
  • the cancer had shrunk in 6 people (a partial response)
  • the cancer had stayed the same for 5 of the other people treated (stable disease)

After an average of 2 years follow up, 9 people were still alive and 8 of these had no sign of cancer. 

The most troublesome side effects reported included:

  • feeling of being sick 
  • extreme tiredness
  • problems with swallowing
  • loss of appetite 

The study team concluded that the highest dose was safe as part of CHART. They are now doing a phase 2 trial called ADSCaN that is looking at the best way to deliver this as part of treatment for non small cell lung.   

We have based this summary on information from the research team. 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 who did the research. 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 Matthew Hatton

Supported by

Cancer Clinical Trials Unit Scotland (CaCTUS)
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/08/017.

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

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 4989

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

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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