Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.
A trial comparing 2 ways of treating a build up of fluid around the lung (IPC-PLUS)
This trial compared 2 different ways of treating a build up of fluid around the lung caused by cancer.
This trial closed in 2016 and these final results were published in 2018.
More about this trial
In some people who have cancer, fluid collects between the sheets of tissue covering the outside of the lung and the inside of the chest wall. These sheets of tissue are called the pleura. The collection of fluid is called a pleural effusion.
To treat a pleural effusion, doctors put a tube into your chest to drain away the fluid. They can also do a procedure called talc pleurodesis. This involves putting sterile talc down the tube into the space between the pleura. This makes them stick together, which can stop the fluid building up again.
An alternative way of treating a pleural effusion is to have a different type of tube called an indwelling pleural catheter (IPC). This can stay in your chest for a while. And it is used to drain off fluid when you are at home.
Half the people taking part in this trial had sterile talc through their IPC.
The other half had sterile salt water (
The aim of the trial was to see if having sterile talc through an IPC was better than having an IPC alone.
Summary of results
- 78 people had sterile talc through their IPC
- 76 people had sterile salt water (placebo) through their IPC
The people taking part didn’t know if they had the sterile talc or sterile salt water through their IPC.
Everyone had a chest x-ray before having the IPC put in. This was to see how much fluid was there to start with.
Then the fluid was drained off at home for the next week. After this the sterile talc or sterile salt water was put in through their IPC.
Their IPC was then drained the following day by the district nurses and at least twice a week (or more if necessary) after this.
The team looked at how much fluid was drained at each visit. Another chest x-ray was taken at each visit.
The pleurodesis procedure was successful if both of the following happened:
- the x-ray showed that chest was less than a quarter (25%) full of fluid
- less than 50 ml of fluid was drained on 3 occasions in a row
- 30 people who had sterile talc (43%)
- 16 people who had sterile salt water (23%)
- 35 people who had sterile talc (51%)
- 19 people who had sterile salt water (27%)
- 1350 ml for those who had the sterile talc
- 3640 ml for those who had the sterile salt water
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 Nick Maskell
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
North Bristol NHS Trust
Beckton Dickinson and Company (BD)