A study looking at magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to assess Hodgkin lymphoma in children and young people (MELT)

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Cancer type:

Blood cancers
Children's cancers
Hodgkin lymphoma
Lymphoma

Status:

Results

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 lymphatic system Open a glossary item. It can start in many parts of the body. 

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 radiation Open a glossary item to create a picture of the inside of your whole body. 

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 (radiologists Open a glossary item) to look at and compare the 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 

Cancer areas
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. 

Cancer stage
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%).  

Overall conclusions 
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 (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) or published in a medical journal yet. The figures we quote above were provided by the research team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

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 Stuart Taylor

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
NIHR Clinical Research Network: cancer
University College London (UCL)

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Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

8635

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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