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 at magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to assess Hodgkin lymphoma in children and young people (MELT)
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This study looked at using a new type of MRI scan to assess Hodgkin lymphoma and its response to treatment in children and young people.
It was for children and young people up to and including the age of 18. We use the term 'you' in this summary, but if you are a parent we are referring to your child.
Cancer Research UK supported this trial.
More about this trial
Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the
Doctors can use different scans to find out where Hodgkin lymphoma is, such as a:
They also use these scans to find out how well the treatment worked (the response to treatment).
Researchers want to compare a new type of MRI scan to the CT and PET CT scan. The new MRI scan is called whole body MRI (WB MRI). It uses magnets and radio waves instead of
To compare the new MRI scan with the usual scans, doctors asked children and young adults to have:
- a CT and PET CT scan
- a WB MRI scan
They then asked specialist doctors in reading scans (
The aim of this study was to find out how good the WB MRI scan is at assessing Hodgkin lymphoma and its response to treatment.
Summary of results
The trial team concluded that the WB MRI scan might be useful in looking for Hodgkin lymphoma. But more research needs to be done.
50 children and young adults aged between 6 and 19 with Hodgkin lymphoma took part.
They had the following scans before the start of treatment:
- a CT and PET CT scan (the usual scans)
- a WB MRI scan
37 children and young adults also had the same scans after 2 treatment cycles of chemotherapy.
Doctors looked at the scans and compared:
- the number of cancer areas (nodal sites)
- the cancer stage
- the response to treatment
The research team found the number of cancer areas in 44 out of 50 WB MRI scans (88%) matched the usual scans in at least 8 out of 10 cancer areas (80%).
The team also found that only 12 out of 50 WB MRI scans (24%) matched all cancer areas found by the usual scans.
Doctors compared the cancer stage found using the WB MRI scan with the stage found using the CT and PET CT scans. They found that:
- 36 out of 50 people’s stage (72%) matched
- 10 out of 50 people (20%) were staged lower with the WB MRI
- 4 out of 50 people (8%) were staged higher with the WB MRI
A lower stage means that the WB MRI scan found less cancer areas than the usual scans. And a higher stage means that it found more cancer areas.
Response to treatment
The team looked at how well the treatment worked after chemotherapy (treatment response).
They compared the treatment response found using the WB MRI scan and the usual scans.
They found that the treatment response for 25 out of 37 people (68%) matched. But it was lower with the WB MRI for 8 out of 37 people (22%) and higher for 4 out of 37 people (11%).
The trial team concluded the WB MRI might be useful at finding the stage and treatment response of children and young adults with Hodgkin lymphoma. But doctors need to do more research before them can start using this scan alone as a way of finding out the cancer stage.
We have based this summary on information from the research team. As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Stuart Taylor
Cancer Research UK
NIHR Clinical Research Network: cancer
University College London (UCL)