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 radiotherapy for desmoid tumours that cannot be removed with an operation (EORTC 62991 - 22998)
This trial tried to find out how well radiotherapy worked as a treatment for desmoid tumours.
Desmoid tumours are also sometimes called aggressive fibromatosis. This rare tumour grows in fibrous tissue. This tumour is not a cancer in that it does not spread to other parts of the body and it is not a life threatening disease. But desmoid tumours can cause problems because they can come back (recur) in the same place after treatment and they can be quite aggressive.
Desmoid tumours are usually treated with surgery. If an operation is not possible, radiotherapy is sometimes used.
Doctors didn’t know how successful radiotherapy was in treating this type of tumour. This was because so few people have this disease and are given radiotherapy. The aim of this international study was to find out if radiotherapy worked to treat desmoid tumours.
Summary of results
The trial team found that radiotherapy did work as treatment for people with desmoid tumours.
This was a phase 2 trial. It recruited 44 people. Everyone had radiotherapy to treat their desmoid tumours.
The researchers looked at how many people’s tumours had responded to treatment 3 years later. They found that
- 6 people had no sign of their tumour – a
- In 16 people the tumour had shrunk – a
- In 18 people the tumour had stayed the same –
- 3 people had a tumour that had continued to grow
For 1 person they weren’t able to assess how well the tumour had responded. This was because the quality of the scan images at the beginning of treatment weren’t good enough to measure the size of the tumour.
The main long term side effects of the radiotherapy were
- Skin problems
The trial team concluded that radiotherapy worked well for people with desmoid tumours.
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
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Dr M Robinson
European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses
Freephone 0808 800 4040