"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”
A trial using PET scans to see how well chemotherapy is working for people with cancer of the pancreas
This trial was looking at whether PET scans can show how well chemotherapy is working for people with pancreatic cancer.
Doctors often use chemotherapy to treat pancreatic cancer. They usually do a CT scan to see if the treatment is working.
PET scans are a different type of scan. Doctors already use PET scans to measure cancer spread. But researchers hoped they might be able to help to show if a new treatment was working.
Before you have a PET scan, you have an injection of a small amount of a radioactive drug. In this trial, they used a drug called FDG which is radioactive sugar. When you have the PET scan, the FDG can show up cancer because cancer cells use glucose in a different way from normal tissue.
This aim of this trial was to look at the relationship between the amount of FDG taken up by the cancer and the length of time people lived after treatment.
Summary of results
The trial team had intended to recruit about 70 people. But it took longer than expected to do this and the trial was stopped when just 14 people had joined.
Everybody who took part had pancreatic cancer that had grown outside the pancreas (stage 3 or stage 4) and was starting chemotherapy that included the drug gemcitabine.
They had PET scans
- Once or twice before starting chemotherapy
- 3 weeks after starting treatment
- 6 or 7 weeks after starting treatment
They also had CT scans to measure the size of their cancer.
For 11 of these people, the trial team have results from PET scans done after they started chemotherapy.
The results suggested that if the scan done 3 weeks after starting chemotherapy showed the cancer had got smaller, people went on to live longer. But as such a small number of people took part, the researchers weren’t able to collect enough data to show whether or not changes in the amount of FDG taken up by the cancer reflected the length of time people lived after treatment.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (
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 Tuveson
Sharp & Dohme
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)