A study looking at a scan to measure how well cancer treatment works

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We know that this is an especially worrying time for people with cancer and their family and friends. We have separate information about coronavirus and cancer. Please read that information alongside this page. We will update that information as guidance changes.

Read about coronavirus and cancer

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

Cancer type:

All cancer types





This study is looking at magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to measure how cancer treatment is working. MRS scans are a type of MRI scan. Cancer Research UK supports this study.


More about this trial

To tell how well a treatment is working doctors often look for substances in the body (biomarkers) that they can measure. They usually do this by taking blood or tissue samples.

In this study the researchers want to see if they can use a biomarker, called lactate. Lactate is a substance that is made by normal body cells and cancer cells. MRS scans can identify lactate in cells.

We know from research that many cancers make large amounts of lactate. We also know that many cancer drugs can change the amount of lactate that cancer cells make. The researchers think they may be able to tell how well a treatment is working by looking for changes to the amount of lactate using MRS scans.

The aims of this study are to

  • Look for changes in lactate using MRS scans
  • Show that lactate can be identified and measured using MRS scans

Please note - You are unlikely to get any direct benefit from joining this study, but the results may help to improve the way cancer is treated in the future.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this study if you are in one of the following groups

You cannot enter this study if you are not able to have an MRI scan. For example, because you have a pacemaker or other metal in your body, you cannot cope with being in small spaces or you can’t lie flat for at least 40 minutes.

Trial design

This study will recruit a total of 90 people. There are 4 groups

  • 15 people with lymphoma
  • 15 people with bowel cancer that has spread
  • 30 people who are taking part in a phase 1 trial
  • 30 people with a primary brain tumour or brain (cerebral) lymphoma

If you have lymphoma, you have a scan before starting treatment and a week after starting treatment.

If you have bowel cancer, you have 2 scans in the week before starting treatment and another 2 scans after treatment.

If you are taking part in a phase 1 trial, you have 2 scans in the week before starting treatment and another 2 scans after treatment.

Each scan takes about 40 minutes.

Hospital visits

You have your scans at the MRI department of the Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton.

Side effects

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

We have more information about MRI scans.

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 Nandita Desouza

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Facility in Imaging

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

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.

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

Rate this page:

No votes yet
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think