A study looking for biomarkers of bowel cancer (EpiMET)

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

Cancer type:

Bowel (colorectal) cancer
Cancer spread to the liver
Secondary cancers





This study is looking at substances in the blood (biomarkers) that could help doctors know if there is a risk of the cancer coming back after treatment. 

More about this trial

Surgery followed by chemotherapy is the usual treatment for bowel cancer. This can cure the majority of people. Unfortunately for a small number of people their cancer comes back and needs more treatment.

In this study researchers are looking at tiny envelopes of material called exosomes. Cancer cells release these into the blood. They hope that exosomes could help them to predict who has a high risk of their cancer coming back.

The aims of this study are to identify

  • exosomes that could be used as biomarkers following surgery
  • exosomes that are particularly high in people whose cancer has spread to the liver

Please note you won’t get any direct benefit from taking part in this study. The information gained might help people in the future who have bowel cancer. 

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 going to the Freeman Hospital or the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne and you

The study team are also asking people whose bowel cancer hasn’t spread to take part.

They are also asking people who haven't got bowel cancer. But are having surgery for another reason such as to remove the gallbladder.

You cannot join this study if any of these apply. You

  • have had another cancer in the past 5 years apart from basal cell skin cancer Open a glossary item
  • are taking medication for example steroids that affect how your immune system works
  • have HIV
  • have any other medical or mental health condition that the study team think could affect you taking part 

Trial design

For this study the researchers need  

  • 20 people whose bowel cancer has spread to the liver
  • 20 people whose bowel cancer hasn’t spread
  • 20 people who don’t have bowel cancer

They will ask everyone for a blood sample.

For those who are having surgery to remove their cancer they will ask for a sample of the cancer tissue. 

Hospital visits

There are no extra hospital visits if you agree to take part in this study.

Side effects

There are no side effects to taking part in this study.

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

Mr Stuart Robinson

Supported by

Academy of Medical Sciences
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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.

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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