A study looking at a new type of MRI scan for people with lung cancer or a solid tumour

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

Cancer type:

All cancer types
Lung cancer
Non small cell lung cancer





This study is looking at an MRI scan called oxygen-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (OE-MRI). 

It is for people:

  • who have non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and who are having radiotherapy at The Christie hospital in Manchester 
  • who have NSCLC and who are having surgery at the University Hospital of South Manchester
  • who have a solid tumour and who are having treatment at The Christie – a solid tumour is any type of cancer apart from leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma. 

More about this trial

MRI scans are used to:

  • diagnose cancer
  • see if it is anywhere else in the body 
  • see how well treatment is working

But researchers are always looking for new ways to improve them. In this study, they are looking at a new type of MRI scan. It is called oxygen enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (OE-MRI). 

OE-MRI involves breathing in a mixture of air and oxygen. You also have an injection of contract medium Open a glossary item into a vein. 

The air and oxygen reaches your lungs. Doctors think it can show the amount of oxygen in the cancer. And show why some cancers are harder to treat than others. 

In this study, you can have up to 3 OE-MRI scans. If you are going to have surgery for NSCLC, doctors may also ask you to have a PET scan

The PET scan also helps to show the amount of oxygen in the cancer. 

The aims of this study are to:

  • find out if an OE-MRI scan can be used to see how well radiotherapy works 
  • compare OE-MRI scan and PET scan to see if one is better at showing the amount of oxygen in the cancer   
  • find out if an OE-MRI scan can show if there is damage to the healthy lung during treatment

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 all of the following apply

  • You have NSCLC and are going to have radiotherapy or surgery, or you are having treatment for a solid tumour (not leukaemia, myeloma or lymphoma) 
  • Your kidneys work well
  • You are able to lie on your back for up to 1 hour at a time   
  • You are well enough to be up and about for at least half the day (performance status of 0, 1 or 2)  
  • You are aged 18 years or over 
  • You are willing to use reliable contraception during the trial if there is any possibility you or your partner could become pregnant.  

You cannot join this study if any of these apply. 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), or you have a fear of being in closed spaces (claustrophobia) 
  • Are known to be sensitive to the injection given during an MRI scan (contrast medium) or to the radioactive tracer given during the PET scan 
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

This is a pilot study. Researchers need about 70 people having treatment at the following hospitals to take part:

  • The Christie hospital
  • University Hospital of South Manchester

Everyone has OE-MRI scans. It is like a normal MRI scan, but you wear an oxygen mask during the scan. You breathe normal air and then pure oxygen.  

If you have a solid tumour
You have 2 OE-MRI scans. The scans are done within about 10 days of each other.  

If you have NSCLC and are having radiotherapy
You have 3 scans:

  • 2 OE-MRI scans before the start of radiotherapy 
  • 1 OE-MRI scan within 4 weeks of finishing radiotherapy 

If you have NSCLC and are having surgery
You have 2 scans before surgery:

  • OE-MRI scan
  • PET scan 

On the day before surgery, you also have a drug called pimonidazole. You have it as a capsule 1 day before the surgery. It helps to show the areas of low oxygen in the cancer. 

During your surgery, as part of your normal care, samples of tissue are taken. The study doctors will ask you to have extra samples taken for research. 

Doctors look at the tissue samples and the scan results together. This is to try to see the amount of oxygen in the cancer.  

Blood tests
You have some extra blood tests as part of this study. You have them on the same day you have the scans. 

Researchers want to find out markers (biomarkers) Open a glossary item that may be a sign of lack of oxygen.

Hospital visits

There are no extra visits to the hospital. But, you need to go to the University of Manchester to have the research scans.   

Side effects

Pure oxygen and air are safe to breathe. You should not have any side effects from this.  

You have an extra dose of radiation Open a glossary item if you have the PET scan. The amount of extra radiation you have is the same that you get while living in the UK for a period of 5 years. The research team doesn’t think this will cause any problems to your health.

The study team will tell you about all the possible side effects before you start in the study. 

We have more information on having an MRI scan.

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 James O'Connor

Supported by

Cancer Research UK 
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
University of Manchester
University Hospital of South Manchester (UHSM)

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.

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

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