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 study looking at adding an increased dose of radiation to CHART radiotherapy to treat non small cell lung cancer (CHART ED)
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
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 (
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Matthew Hatton
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
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/08/017.