A trial looking at CT scans before surgery for breast cancer (MISO BC)

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Breast cancer





This trial is looking to see if CT scans of the armpit can show if breast cancer has spread into the lymph nodes or not.

Surgeons usually treat breast cancer with surgery to remove it.

Sometimes the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes Open a glossary item in the armpit (axilla) when it is diagnosed. To find out if the cancer has spread surgeons take samples (biopsies Open a glossary item) from the lymph nodes. These biopsies are often taken during breast cancer surgery.

It can take up to a week to find out if the lymph node biopsies contain cancer or not. If the lymph nodes do contain cancer, then you may have another operation to remove them. This is called an axillary lymph node dissection (or axillary clearance).

The aim of this study is to see if a CT scan of the armpit can show cancer in lymph nodes before surgery. If cancer in the lymph nodes can be detected by CT scan then surgeons will be able to remove them at the same time as your breast cancer. Surgeons hope this will mean that more people will be able to have a single operation for breast cancer.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this trial if you

  • Have cancer that started in the breast (primary breast cancer)
  • Are able to have surgery to your armpit
  • Have had an ultrasound scan Open a glossary item,  mammography Open a glossary item, fine needle aspiration, core biopsy or an excision biopsy to diagnose your breast cancer
  • Are at least18 years old

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Have any other serious medical condition that could affect you taking part in this trial
  • Have an allergy to iodine
  • Have already had surgery or radiotherapy to the affected armpit for cancer
  • Need kidney dialysis
  • Have allergies that are a cause for concern
  • Are having chemotherapy Open a glossary item for cancer other than
    breast cancer
  • Have taken part in this trial before
  • Are pregnant

Trial design

This is a randomised trial. The people taking part are put in to groups by computer. Neither you nor your doctor will be able to decide which group you are in.

  • Group 1 will have a CT scan of the armpit before surgery for breast cancer
  • Group 2 will not have a CT scan before surgery

A researcher will phone you 2 weeks after your operation. They will ask about any side effects you have had and how you have been feeling. This is called a quality of life study.

Hospital visits

If you are in group 1, you have an extra hospital visit to have a CT scan before your surgery. You will have to go to University Hospital North Durham for this scan. The researchers can offer some help towards the cost of this visit.

The time you spend in hospital when you have surgery will be the same if you are taking part in the trial or not.  

Side effects

You may have a bruise and slight itching where you have the dye injection for your CT scan.

The most common side effects of breast cancer surgery are

There is more information about breast cancer surgery on CancerHelp UK.

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

Dr Julie Cox

Supported by

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust
Durham clinical trials unit
Durham University
NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 8476

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

Deborah wanted to help other breast cancer patients in the future

A picture of Deborah

“Deborah agreed to take part in a trial as she was keen to help other cancer patients in the future. "If taking part in a trial means others might be helped then I’m very happy with that."

Last reviewed:

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