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 comparing 2 procedures to treat abnormal cell changes or early cancer in people with Barrett’s oesophagus (BRIDE)
This study compared 2 endoscopy procedures called radiofrequency ablation and argon plasma coagulation in people with Barrett’s oesophagus.
More about this trial
Barrett’s oesophagus is a change in the cells lining the food pipe (oesophagus). It can start after years of having stomach acid coming up into your food pipe (acid reflux).
Sometimes these cell changes can lead to cancer. So it is important to remove the affected tissue before cancer develops, or when it is at an
Barrett’s oesophagus is usually treated during an endoscopy. The doctor uses a flexible camera to look inside the food pipe and remove the abnormal tissue.
But, sometimes the abnormal tissue cannot be completely removed. What remains may not have pre cancerous cells, but there is a risk of further pre cancer or early cancer developing.
There are 2 procedures to treat the lining of the food pipe:
- radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
- argon plasma coagulation
Both work by gently burning the affected tissue and allowing the lining to heal as normal food pipe lining. They are both useful, but doctors don’t know which works best.
The main aims of this study were to:
- compare radiofrequency ablation with argon plasma coagulation
- find out what people thought about research in this area
Summary of results
The research team concluded that there was no difference between using radiofrequency ablation and argon plasma coagulation to treat people with Barrett’s oesophagus.
76 people took part in this study. They were put into 2 groups:
- 36 people had radiofrequency ablation
- 40 people had argon plasma coagulation
Everyone taking part had either radiofrequency ablation or argon plasma coagulation every 2 months, for 1 year.
People also had a drug to reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach (a proton pump inhibitor) twice a day.
So far the following people have completed 1 year of treatment:
- 33 in the radiofrequency ablation group
- 31 in the argon plasma coagulation group
Researchers looked at people in both groups who still had Barrett’s oesophagus at the end of treatment. They found there was no difference between the 2 groups. But, there was only 76 people in this study so it was difficult for researchers to be sure.
Researchers also looked at the number of side effects from radiofrequency ablation and argon plasma coagulation. They found it was similar in each group.
The doctors interviewed 18 people who took part in the study. They asked:
- if they liked the way the research team explained the study
- the reasons for taking part and what would want them not to take part
- what their preferred treatment for Barrett’s oesophagus is
They found that people:
- liked the way the study was explained and had trust in the research team
- decided to take part to help others in the future and had no reasons not to take part
- preferred to have an endoscopy rather than surgery, unless it looked like surgery would be better for them
The study doctors also asked 70 health professionals the best treatment for Barrett’s oesophagus. They preferred endoscopy, and suggested doing a study comparing surgery to endoscopy in people with extensive or
Researchers want to confirm these results by doing another study with a large number of people.
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
Professor John de Caestecker
NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
University of Leicester