A study using PET-CT scan to detect thyroid cancer and salivary gland cancer

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

Cancer type:

Head and neck cancers
Salivary gland cancer
Thyroid cancer



This study is looking at a PET-CT scan to detect thyroid cancer and salivary gland cancer.

More about this trial

Doctors can use a PET-CT scan to diagnose thyroid cancer and salivary gland cancer. Researchers think that a PET-CT scan may be better at detecting these cancers than the SPECT scan doctors currently use. 

To get a clearer picture a radioactive tracer (dye) Open a glossary item is given before having a PET-CT scan. Before finding out how good a PET-CT scan is at finding thyroid or salivary gland cancer the study team need to know if a new radioactive tracer called 18F tetrafluoroborate (BF4) can be used. 

In this study everyone will have a PET-CT scan done using the BF4 radioactive tracer. 

The aims of this study are to find 

  • How much of the radioactive tracer is taken up by thyroid cancer an salivary gland cancer 
  • How safe the radioactive tracer is

Who can enter

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

You may be able to join this study if are going to St Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital and all of the following apply. You

  • Have thyroid cancer or salivary gland cancer 
  • Are able to have surgery to remove the cancer 
  • Are 18 to 80 years old

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

  • Have already had treatment for thyroid cancer or salivary gland cancer 
  • Have had medication containing iodine, for example  amiodarone, in the past year
  • Have had a contrast medium Open a glossary item as an injection in the past 6 months
  • Have had thyroid hormones in the past 2 months
  • Have any other problem that the study team think will affect you taking part
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding 

Trial design

This is a phase 1 study. The researchers need 20 people to join. There are 2 groups in this study, group A and group B.

You will have the PET-CT scans done on the same day. You cannot eat or drink, except water, for 6 hours before the scans.  

You have a small plastic tube (cannula Open a glossary item) put into a vein in both of your arms. Through one you have the contrast medium as an injection into the vein. From the other one the researchers take blood samples during the scans.

  • Your first scan takes about 1½ hours
  • People in group B then have another scan that takes 30 minutes
  • People in group A have another scan 2 hours after you had the injection
  • Everyone has a final scan taken 4 hours after the injection

During the day you will give 3 urine samples. 

When you have your surgery the researchers will do some extra tests on a sample of cancer tissue that is removed. They are looking for a substance called NIS in the tissue. The results of this test will be compared with the results of the PET-CT scan.  

Hospital visits

Taking part in the study will not interfere with your care. But there will be an extra visit to the hospital.

You see a member of the research team at Guy’s Hospital to have some tests before you take part in the study. 

You go to the Clinical PET Centre at St Thomas’ Hospital for the scans.

During the scans you will a heart trace (ECG Open a glossary item) taken. A member of the team will monitor you.

A member of the team will phone the day after to make sure you are all right. 

Side effects

PET-CT scans are a safe test. The radioactive substance in the injection is a very small amount and the radiation goes away quickly. After the scan it is best not to have close contact with pregnant women, babies or children for at least 6 hours.

We have information about PET-CT scan.  

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 Valerie Lewington

Supported by

Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
King's College London
Kings Health Partners
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

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.

Wendy took part in a new trial studying the possible side effect of hearing loss

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"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”

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