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 for changes in genes that cause head and neck cancer (PREGO)
More about this trial
Most head and neck cancers can take many years to develop. The stages they most often go through are:
- normal tissue
- abnormal tissue (
- early cancer (
carcinoma in situ)
- cancer that is growing into the surrounding tissues (
- cancer that may spread
The researchers wanted to collect samples of cells from all these stages to look at the
The aim of this study was to see if they could find any changes in genes that have caused head and neck cancer to develop.
Summary of results
The researchers have shown that the abnormal (precancerous) tissue has a considerable number of gene changes (mutations) in the cells. The number of the changes in the abnormal tissue does not predict whether cancer develops or not.
148 people took part in this study. They had
- back of the mouth
- inside of the nose and sinuses
- voice box
- food pipe
From each person the study team took:
- a small piece of the cancer tissue (
- some cells from the area of cancer using a small brush
- a mouthwash
- a blood sample
The team looked at samples of tissue from the mouth that were:
- abnormal but not cancer (
The study team concluded they could identify changes in the genes of cancer cells that might cause cancer and further studies are needed to confirm their findings.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Pamela Rabbitts
University of Leeds
Yorkshire Cancer Research