"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”
A study using PET-CT scan to look at changes in cancer cells during radiotherapy
Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.
This study is using a type of scan called FLT PET-CT scan to improve our understanding of what happens to cancer cells during radiotherapy. The study is open to people who have non small cell lung cancer and head and neck cancers.
Doctors often treat these cancers with a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Radiotherapy works by using high energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. But for some people the cancer comes back.
Doctors take a CT scan of the cancer to show the size and location of it, so they know where to aim the X-rays. The CT scan also tells them which parts of the cancer are growing. But it cannot tell them how fast different parts of the cancer are growing and some parts may be growing more quickly than others. Because they do not know where the fast growing parts are, doctors are not able to give a bigger dose of radiotherapy to them. They think this is one reason why some cancers come back after treatment.
The researchers want to use a type of scan called a FLT PET-CT scan to see if it can show how quickly different parts of a cancer grow. A PET-CT scan combines 2 scans, a PET scan and CT scan. It uses a radioactive drug to show the activity of the cancer. FLT is the radioactive tracer the researchers will use. The FLT shows up more in cancer cells than normal cells, because the cancer cells grow more quickly. The researchers hope that the FLT will show up most in the fastest growing parts of the cancer. If they can see the fastest growing parts of a cancer, doctors would then be able to give them a bigger dose of radiotherapy.
The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of how cancer cells behave during a course of radiotherapy treatment.
Who can enter
You can enter this trial if you
- Have non small cell lung cancer that has not spread to another part of the body (stage 1 - 3) and either the cancer or a lymph node that contains cancer cells is bigger than 2 cm
- Have the most common type of head and neck cancer called
squamous celland it has not spread to another part of the body and either the cancer or a lymph node that contains cancer cells is bigger than 2 cm
- Are having radiotherapy to treat your cancer
- Are well enough to come to the hospital 1 to 2 hours early on 5 occasions during your course of radiotherapy to have FLT PET-CT scans
- Are at least 18 years old
You cannot enter this trial if you
- Have a bleeding problem as well as your head and neck cancer
- Have a severe fear of small spaces (claustrophobia) or cannot tolerate having a PET-CT scan for another reason
- Are taking a type of anti virus medicine called a nucleoside analogue – your doctor can advise about this (you should not stop taking these medications without talking to your doctor)
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
This study will recruit 30 people.
Depending on what your doctor thinks and how you feel, you are put in to 1 of 2 groups.
People in group 1 have 2 FLT PET-CT scans. You have the scans on the Monday morning of the 2nd and 3rd week of your radiotherapy.
People in group 2 have 4 FLT PET-CT scans. You have the scans on the Monday morning of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th, and 5th or 6th week of your radiotherapy.
If you are having chemotherapy before starting radiotherapy, you have the first scan before you start chemotherapy.
Before each scan the staff will put a small plastic tube (cannula) in a vein in your wrist. You have the FLT through this tube. If you are in group 1 you have the scan done straight away and this takes 1 hour. You are in the scanner for the whole hour.
If you are in group 2 you wait 15 minutes and then you have the scan. You are in the scanner for 45 minutes.
You are able to take music in with you to listen to or you can sleep if you wish while you have the scan.
The staff will remove the plastic tube at the end of the scan.
You cannot eat for 6 hours before each FLT PET-CT scan. After your scan the staff will give you something to eat and drink.
If you take part in this study the researchers will ask your permission to take some blood samples. The researchers will take these when you are having the scan. They will take it from the small plastic tube in your wrist.
If you have head and neck cancer the researchers will also your permission to take a photograph of your mouth only. You will not be able to be recognized from this photograph.
There are no extra visits if you take part in this study. However you will need to get to the hospital 1 to 2 hours early on the weeks you have the FLT PET-CT scans, usually on the Monday morning. About 12 weeks after your radiotherapy, you go to the hospital for the last FLT PET-CT scan.
There is a small amount of radiation from the CT scan and PET-CT scan. But this shouldn’t cause any side effects.
You may get some discomfort or slight bruising where the small plastics tubes are put into the vein and artery in your wrist.
You can find more about CT scan and PET-CT scan on CancerHelp UK.
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.
Dr David Landau
Cancer Research UK
Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses
Freephone 0808 800 4040