A study using MRI scans to work out oxygen levels in 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
Laryngeal cancer
Mouth (oral) cancer
Nasal and paranasal sinus cancer
Nasopharyngeal cancer
Pharyngeal cancer





This study is looking at using 2 different MRI scans to work out the oxygen levels of head and neck cancers.

We know that cancers with low levels of oxygen are harder to treat with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Doctors usually treat head and neck cancer with surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of these.

In this pilot study the researchers want to use 2 different MRI scans. They hope that these 2 scans together will better measure the oxygen levels in the cancer.

If the results of this study are promising, the researchers want to do a larger study with more people.    

You will not have any direct benefit from taking part in this study, and it won’t change your treatment plan in any way. But the results of the study will be used to help people with head and neck cancer in the future.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this trial if you go to the Head and Neck Cancer Unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital and you

  • Have a cancer of the head and neck that started in cells called squamous cells Open a glossary item – you can ask your doctor about this
  • Are to have treatment that aims to completely get rid of your cancer – you can ask your doctor about this
  • Are well enough to be up and about for at least half the day (performance status 0, 1 or 2)
  • Have satisfactory blood test results
  • Are at least 18 years old

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Have had another cancer in the past 2 years apart from non melanoma skin cancer – if you had another cancer more than 2 years ago that has been treated and is now under control you may be able to take part
  • Are not able to have an MRI scan - if you have certain types of metal surgical clips or plates in your body, or a pacemaker for example
  • Are allergic to the injection (contrast medium Open a glossary item) used for the MRI scan

Trial design

This is a pilot study. It will recruit 5 people who are to have treatment at the Head and Neck Cancer Unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital.

Before starting your treatment, you have 2 sets of MRI scans done. The sets will take place on different days. Each set will take about an hour.

Hospital visits

You go to the hospital on 2 separate days for the MRI scans. Before each set you have a blood test.

Side effects

There is a very low risk that you may have an allergic reaction to the injection (contrast medium) used for the MRI scans.

There is also a small risk that the injection can cause kidney damage in people who already have kidney disease. The doctor will do a blood test to check your kidneys before 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 Kate Newbold

Supported by

Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle - 10997

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Last reviewed:

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