A study looking at scans to see how chemoradiotherapy is working for head and neck cancers

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

Cancer type:

Head and neck cancers





This study is looking at a number of different scans to see how head and neck cancers are responding to chemoradiotherapy Open a glossary item.

More about this trial

Doctors can treat head and neck cancers with a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. This is called chemoradiotherapy. They use CT scans and MRI scans to find out about the size and shape of the cancer and the surrounding tissue.

The researchers want to use 4 other scans to see what is happening inside the cancer. They are a PET-CT scan and 3 different types of MRI scan

  • DW MRI scan
  • IS MRI scan
  • DCE MRI scan

The aim of this study is to find out if these scans can be used to predict and see how well people with head and neck cancers respond to chemoradiotherapy.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this trial if you are going to the head and neck clinic at the Royal Marsden Hospital and you

  • Have a squamous cell cancer Open a glossary item of the head or neck
  • Are to have chemotherapy followed by chemoradiotherapy using a chemotherapy drug from the group called platinum drugs Open a glossary item
  • Are well enough to be up and about for at least half the day (performance status 0, 1 or 2)
  • Are at least 18 years old

You cannot enter this trial if

  • You have had another cancer apart from non melanoma skin cancer
  • You have diabetes Open a glossary item
  • Your kidneys don’t work properly
  • You can’t have MRI scans because you have metal implants such as pacemakers, surgical clips, pins or plates, or you are allergic to an injection you have before an MRI scan called contrast medium

Trial design

This study will recruit 129 people. Everyone will have chemotherapy followed by chemoradiation Open a glossary item.

You have CT scans, MRI scans and PET-CT scans before you start treatment, during treatment and after treatment.

The study team will do the DW MRI scan, DCE MRI scan and IS MRI scans at the same time as the MRI scan. This takes about 45 minutes.

The study team will ask for extra blood samples to be taken when you have your routine ones done. The will use these to look for substances (biomarkers Open a glossary item) in the blood.

Hospital visits

You have a CT scan, PET-CT scan and MRI scans

  • Before starting chemotherapy
  • After your 1st and 2nd treatments of chemotherapy
  • After the 1st week of radiotherapy
  • 3 months after treatment has finished

If in the 2 years after treatment your doctor thinks the cancer has come back you will have another PET-CT scan and MRI scans.

Side effects

Side effects of the injection used for the PET-CT scan and MRI scan include

  • Small risk of bleeding and risk of infection where you had the injection
  • Allergic reaction, which could be very severe but is very rare - staff will keep a close eye on you and treat you for this if necessary

You will also be exposed to a little extra radiation from the study scans themselves. Being exposed to radiation can increase your risk of developing cancer. The team believes that the risk of developing a second cancer from these scans is very small.

Your doctor will talk to you about the possible side effects of chemotherapy and chemoradiotherapy. This varies depending on the drugs you are having and on the part of the body being treated.

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 Kate Newbold

Supported by

NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
The Royal Marsden 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.

Wendy took part in a new trial studying the possible side effect of hearing loss

A picture of Wendy

"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”

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