A study looking at a new type of MRI scan for people having radiotherapy to the lung

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

All cancer types
Cancer spread to the lung
Lung cancer
Secondary cancers




Phase 2
This study is looking at a new type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) called xenon gas MRI for people having radiotherapy to the lung. It is for people with either:
It is for people having radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy who are having their treatment at the Churchill hospital in Oxford.  

More about this trial

MRI scans are a common cancer test. You might have one to:
  • diagnose cancer
  • see if it is anywhere else in the body
  • see how well treatment is working
Researchers are looking for ways to improve them. This study is looking at a new type of MRI scan called xenon gas MRI. 
Xenon gas MRI involves breathing in a mixture of 2 gases called xenon and nitrogen. The xenon gas reaches your lungs and then shows up on the scan. Doctors will be able to see your lungs in more detail. They will be able to see which parts of your lungs are healthy or not. 
The aims of this study are to:
  • find out how well the lungs work during and after radiotherapy
  • find out if xenon gas MRI can be used for radiotherapy planning
  • find out if xenon gas MRI can help to spot lung problems such as difficulty breathing earlier
  • see if xenon gas MRI can help to tell how well radiotherapy works

Who can enter

The following bullet points list 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.
You may be able to join this study if you are having radiotherapy at Churchill hospital in Oxford and all of the following apply. You:
  • Are going to have radiotherapy or radiotherapy with chemotherapy (chemoradiotherapy) to the lung
  • Are well enough to be up and about for at least half the day (performance status of 0, 1 or 2
  • Are aged 18 years or over 
You cannot join this study if any of these apply. 
  • You have had previous radiotherapy to your chest
  • You are not able to have an MRI scan for any reason, for example you have metal implants such as a pacemaker, surgical clips, pins or plates or cochlear implants (for deafness), you have a fear of being in closed spaces (claustrophobia) or you have small pieces of metal in your eyes 
  • You are known to be sensitive to the injection given during an MRI scan (known as contrast medium)
  • You need regular treatment for epilepsy or you have had a fit (seizure) in the last year 
  • You can’t lie flat 
  • You have any other medical or mental health problem that the study team thinks could affect you taking part
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

This is a phase 2 study. The researchers need 30 people who are having radiotherapy at the Churchill hospital in Oxford to take part. 
Everyone taking part will have a xenon gas MRI scan: 
  • before radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy 
  • during treatment 
  • after treatment    
In addition to the xenon gas MRI you may also have some extra lung tests if you have cancer that started in the lung (primary lung cancer). Your study team will explain more about them.  
You will also complete some questionnaires. They ask about how you have been feeling and what side affects you have had.

Hospital visits

You need to go to the Churchill hospital in Oxford to have the study tests. There can be up to 5 visits. 
Before radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy 
You have all of the following if you are having radiotherapy for primary lung cancer:
  • oxygen reading test (also called pulse oximetry)
  • physical examination 
  • lung function tests
  • a CT scan of the chest 
  • xenon gas MRI 
  • a scan called SPECT/CT to look at how the blood moves inside the lungs (you don’t have to agree to this if you don’t want to)
  • an MRI scan of the lungs with gadolinium contrast
If you are having radiotherapy for reasons other than treatment for primary lung cancer, you will only have a physical examination, an oxygen reading test and a xenon gas MRI. 
During radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy
During treatment, you have a xenon gas MRI scan. 
After radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy
On the final day of your radiotherapy treatment you have the same tests you had before radiotherapy. After 3 months, you have all the tests again. 
The study team will call you 2 weeks after your last xenon gas MRI test. 

Side effects

The study team monitor you during and after you have the tests. They will give you a phone number to call them if you are worried about anything. The team will tell you about all the possible side effects before you start the study.
Xenon gas has been used for many years. It is safe to breathe and most of the side effects disappear after few minutes. The side effects include:
  • feeling dizzy or light headed 
  • having tingling feelings 
  • headaches 
  • feeling or being sick 
  • feeling sleepy 
  • having a deeper voice
You may also have side effects from the other lung tests.

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

Professor Fergus Gleeson

Supported by

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer


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.

Cara took part in a clinical trial

A picture of Cara

"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”

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