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 after surgery for non small cell lung cancer (LungART)
This trial looked at radiotherapy for people with non small cell lung cancer that had spread to lymph nodes in the middle of the chest.
This trial was open for people to join from 2011 to 2018. The team presented the results at a conference in 2021.
Cancer Research UK supported this trial.
More about this trial
You might also have chemotherapy. Sometimes the cancer can start to grow again and this can be more difficult to treat.
Doctors wanted to find out if radiotherapy to the chest after surgery helped to stop the cancer from starting to grow again.
Doctors knew that radiotherapy could help people with non small cell lung cancer. In this trial researchers used a type of radiotherapy called
The aims of this trial were to find out:
- if radiotherapy after surgery to remove NSCLC can help stop the cancer from coming back
- more about the side effects of radiotherapy after lung cancer surgery
Summary of results
The team found they couldn’t recommend radiotherapy after surgery to be the
About this trial
This was an international phase 3 trial. 501 people took part.
It was a randomised trial. After their surgery everyone went into 1 of 2 groups. Neither they nor their doctor chose which group they went into.
- 249 people didn’t have radiotherapy.
- 252 people had radiotherapy.
The team compared the 2 groups to find out:
- how many people in total were alive and didn’t have signs of their cancer after 3 years
- how many people in total were alive after 3 years
- what the side effects were
The team looked at the
- just under 23 months (22.8) for those who didn’t have radiotherapy
- 30½ months for those who had radiotherapy
The team also looked at the percentage of people who were living and had no sign of cancer after 3 years. They found that it was:
- just under 44 out of every 100 people (43.8%) for those who didn’t have radiotherapy
- just over 47 out of every 100 people (47.1%) for those who did have radiotherapy
The difference between the 2 groups is not
The team then looked at the total percentage of people who were alive after 3 years. This included people whose cancer had come back within the 3 years.
The team found that it was:
- between 68 and 69 people out of every 100 (68.5%) for those who didn’t have radiotherapy
- between 66 and 67 people out of every 100 (66.5%) for those who did have radiotherapy
The team looked found that more people in the radiotherapy group had side effects. And more people in this group had bad to severe side effects affecting the heart or lungs.
The number of people who had at least 1 bad or severe side effect affecting the heart or lungs was:
- 12 people who didn’t have radiotherapy
- 26 people who did have radiotherapy
The team concluded there was a small increase in the number of people who were alive and had no sign of their cancer after 3 years. But this was not statistically significant.
They found there were more side effects affecting the heart and lungs in those who had radiotherapy. And this should be looked at further.
They couldn’t recommend radiotherapy after surgery as standard treatment. This trial was for people who had cancer in their lymph nodes in the middle of the chest.
The team are planning to do further analysis of these results. When they become available we will update this summary.
All trial results help doctors and researchers understand more about different cancers and the best way to treat them.
Where this information comes from
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Corinne Faivre-Finn
Cancer Research UK
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Institut de Cancérologie Gustave Roussy (IGR)