A trial looking at radiotherapy after surgery for non small cell lung cancer (LungART)

Cancer type:

Lung cancer
Non small cell lung cancer

Status:

Results

Phase:

Phase 3

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

Doctors usually treat non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with surgery. During surgery they might take out some nearby lymph nodes Open a glossary item.

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 conformal radiotherapy Open a glossary item. With this type of radiotherapy the radiation beams can closely fit the area to be treated. 

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 standard treatment Open a glossary item. This trial was for NSCLC that had spread to the lymph nodes in the middle of the chest. 

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 

Results
The team looked at the median Open a glossary item amount of time people lived and had no sign of their cancer. They found that it was:

  • 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 statistically significant Open a glossary item. This means it could have happened by chance.

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

Side effects
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

 


Conclusion
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 (peer reviewed Open a glossary item]) but may not have been published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the research team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.
 

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

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.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Corinne Faivre-Finn

Supported by

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)

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/11/052.

We have more information about the work of Professor Corinne Faivre-Finn.

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

6699

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

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