Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial looking at intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) for advanced cancer of the larynx and hypopharynx
We know that this is an especially worrying time for people with cancer and their family and friends. We have separate information about coronavirus and cancer. Please read that information alongside this page. We will update that information as guidance changes.
This trial looked at different doses of IMRT for cancer of the larynx (voice box) or hypopharynx.
More about this trial
Radiotherapy has improved in recent years, and doctors are often able to shape the beam to the exact treatment area. For some cancers they can also vary the strength within the beam, so the treatment is very precise. This is called intensity modulated radiotherapy, or IMRT. It means that there is less damage to the healthy tissue around the area being treated.
Everyone taking part in this trial had IMRT. Some had a lower dose and some had a higher dose.
The aims of this trial were to find out
- The best dose of IMRT to give to patients with these types of cancer
- How well the treatment works
- More about the side effects
Summary of results
The research team found that using a higher dose of radiotherapy in this way was safe.
This trial recruited 60 people who had stage 3 or 4 cancer of the larynx or hypopharynx. Of these 60 people, 29 had a lower dose of radiotherapy (DL1) and 31 had a higher dose (DL2).
The research team looked at the side effects and found that more people who had the higher dose of radiotherapy had severe problems swallowing for 4 to 6 weeks after treatment. This was
- Nearly 6 out of 10 people (59%) in DL1
- Nearly 9 out of 10 people (87%) in DL2
Similar numbers of people in both groups had other side effects, and none of them were classed as ‘severe’.
The research team also looked at how well the treatment worked. They found that the cancer responded to treatment in
- Nearly 8 out of 10 people (79%) in DL1
- Over 8 out of 10 people (84%) in DL2
They found that the cancer had not come back in the laryngeal or hypopharyngeal area up to 2 years after treatment for
- Over 6 out of 10 people (64%) in DL1
- Nearly 8 out of 10 people (78%) in DL2
They also looked at how many people hadn’t needed to have their larynx (voice box) removed up to 2 years after treatment. This is sometimes called laryngeal preservation. It was
- Nearly 9 out of 10 people (89%) in DL1
- Nearly 10 out of 10 people (96%) in DL2
The research team concluded that the higher dose of radiotherapy was safe to use.
Researchers are now looking at this treatment in a larger phase 3 trial called ART-DECO.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Prof Chris Nutting
Cancer Research UK