A study to find why cancer treatment stops working (MAGENTA)

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

Cancer type:

Anal cancer
Bile duct cancer
Biliary tree cancers
Bladder cancer
Bone cancer
Bowel (colorectal) cancer
Breast cancer
Cancer spread to the bone
Cancer spread to the brain
Cancer spread to the liver
Cancer spread to the lung
Cervical cancer
Colon cancer
Gallbladder cancer
Head and neck cancers
Laryngeal cancer
Lung cancer
Mouth (oral) cancer
Nasal and paranasal sinus cancer
Nasopharyngeal cancer
Non melanoma skin cancer
Oesophageal cancer
Pancreatic cancer
Penile cancer
Pharyngeal cancer
Prostate cancer
Rectal cancer
Salivary gland cancer
Secondary cancers
Skin cancer
Small bowel cancer
Soft tissue sarcoma
Squamous cell skin cancer
Stomach cancer
Vaginal cancer
Vulval cancer
Womb (uterine or endometrial) cancer





This study is open to people whose cancer has spread and who are due treatment with a biological therapy by itself, or with chemotherapy.

More about this trial

Doctors treat cancer that has spread with a biological therapy Open a glossary item, or chemotherapy or both. But sometimes the treatment stops working and the cancer no longer responds to it. This means the cancer has become resistant Open a glossary item to the treatment. 

In this study the researchers want to find out why this happens. Before and during your treatment they will take samples of:

  • blood 
  • urine
  • cancer tissue

They will look at the changes in these samples to identify a unique pattern that might tell them why the cancer becomes resistant. 

The aims of the study are to: 

  • understand why cancer becomes resistant to treatment
  • how to predict when this might happen

Who can enter

The following bullet points list the entry conditions for this study. Talk to your doctor or the study if you are unsure about any of these. They will be able to advise you. 

You may be able to join this study if all of the following apply

  • You have cancer that has spread to another part of the body (metastatic). For cancer spread to the brain you must have had treatment for the spread and it has not grown or got worse for at least 1 month afterwards and there are no symptoms
  • You are to have treatment with a biological therapy that targets the epidermal growth receptors (EGFR) Open a glossary item such as cetuximab or panitumumab either by itself or with chemotherapy  
  • Your cancer has been tested for changes in the KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, PICK3A, exon20 and PTEN if able to be assessed
  • You are well enough to be up and about for at least half the day (performance status 0, 1 or 2
  • You are at least 18 years old

You cannot join this study if any of these apply. You

  • Have had another cancer in the past 5 years that has a high chance of coming back or could affect treatment in this study apart from successfully treated cervical cancer in situ, non melanoma skin cancer and superficial transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder
  • Have currently a lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that is severe
  • Have had a CT scan Open a glossary item that shows you have a disease that affects the tissue and space around the air sacs of the lung (interstitial lung disease)
  • Have had a heart attack in the past year
  • Have a heart problem such as heart failure that is severe or isn’t controlled by medication
  • Have HIV
  • Have moderate to severe nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy Open a glossary item)
  • Have any other medical or mental health condition that the study team think could affect you taking part

Trial design

The researchers need 30 to 50 people with bowel cancer that has spread to join. They also need 10 people with any cancer that has spread to join. Everyone will have treatment with a biological therapy such as cetuximab either by itself, or with chemotherapy.  

Every 2 to 3 weeks the study team will take blood and urine samples before your treatment. After your treatment has finished the team will take more blood samples when you go to your routine clinic appointment. The researchers will ask for a sample of your cancer that was removed when you had surgery or a biopsy Open a glossary item when you were diagnosed. 

If you have more surgery as part of your routine care, the research team will ask for another sample of cancer tissue. Or if you have another procedure, such as a fluid drained, they will ask for a sample of the fluid. 

In the future if your cancer stops responding to treatment, the team will ask for another sample of cancer tissue. You don’t have to agree to this if you don’t want to. You can still take part in the main study. 

Hospital visits

There are no extra hospital visits if you take part. You have the study blood samples taken at the same time as your routine blood tests. 

You would need to make an extra visit to the hospital if you agreed to have a sample of cancer tissue taken if your cancer stopped responding to treatment. 

Side effects

There are no side effects if you take part in this study.

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 Harpreet Wasan

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Imperial College London

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.

Cara took part in a clinical trial

A picture of Cara

"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”

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