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Cancer Studies

The Cancer Network supports a wide range of clinical studies which are helping to progress cancer care in Scotland and beyond and all Scottish research ongoing within the network is registered with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). The cancer clinical trial portfolio is very dynamic and is frequently changing as studies open and close to recruitment. Across Scotland, there is a wide range of clinical trials happening in different disease sites. Information on trials happening in the UK can be found on the UK Clinical Trials Gateway and the Cancer Research UK website. For specific information on trials happening in Scotland please contact your cancer professional or your local cancer research network.

To highlight the clinical trials happening in Scotland the cancer research network will feature current trials happening during the different cancer awareness months that take place throughout the year.


September Cancer Awareness Month: Head and Neck Cancer, Blood Cancers, Lymphoma and Children’s Cancers


Children’s Cancers

Incidences of cancer diagnosed in children and young people are less common than those found in adults.  Each year approximately 1,800 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in children (0-14 years) and approximately 2,200 cases in those aged between 15 – 24 years old. (The age group is known as TYA -Teenage & Young Adults).

Both age groups tend to develop different type of cancers to those in adults although treatments for them are usually the same kind e.g. chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. Extensive research and development has meant survival rates are relatively high for example lymphomas have a high survival rate of 91%. The most common types of cancer are leukaemia and other blood cancers and tumours of the brain and spinal cord. There are also rarer cancers that tend to affect very young children such as retinoblastoma (eye cancer), neuroblastoma (cancer of the nerve cells), Wilms tumours (cancer of the kidney) also lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) and bone and muscle cancers such as Ewing’s sarcoma.  

To find out more about children’s cancer please visit the Cancer Research website.

Useful information can also be found at Children with Cancer UK.


Trial Spotlight


This is a trial to improve the outcomes of young children with liver cancer. There are two types of cancer being studied; Hepatoblastoma (HB) and Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Depending on which cancer the patient has, the patient will be put into one of four groups if they have HB or the patient will be put into one of two groups if they have HCC.

The study will look at whether treating children with less chemotherapy, therefore, reducing side effects and toxicity can still cure the cancer. Also, the trial will investigate how doctors stage liver cancer, how liver cancer develops, better ways to diagnose cancer and improved surgical techniques. The trial is recruiting in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Find out more here.



Building on from the success of a previous trial, this trial is looking at different ways to treat children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) or lymphoma. It will investigate if new combinations of treatments have less side effects than the current chemotherapy treatments and whether these newer combinations can stop the disease coming back.

This trial is recruiting patients in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Find out more about this trial.


Blood Cancers

These are various different types of cancers that develop in the blood and bone marrow. They can also be divided into acute and chronic leukaemia. Acute leukaemia can develop and progress very quickly while chronic leukaemia can be treated and kept under control for many years. 

One of the most common ones is Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) which starts from young white blood cells in the bone marrow. Around 3,100 people are diagnosed each year with AML. It can occur in adults or children but is most common in older adults.

Find out more.


Trial Spotlight



This trial compares Ibrutinib vs Rituximab for patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia. New combinations of drugs will be tested to see which work best together, what combination provides fewer side effects and how safe they are. The trial is currently recruiting in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Inverness.

Find out more.



This is a type of cancer which develops in the lymph glands or other organs of the lymphatic system. There are 2 types; Hodgkin’s Lymphoma starts in the white blood cells and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) starts in the Lymphatic system. There are more than 60 different types of NHL.  

For further information on Lymphoma please visit Cancer Research UK or Lymphoma Action.


Trial Spotlight


This trial is targeting those patients with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a rare but aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The aim is to treat patients with either rituximab/ibrutinib vs the standard treatment of rituximab/chemotherapy in older patients and compare the effects to see which one keeps the lymphoma under control for the longest period. They are currently recruiting in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

Find out more about the trial.


Head and Neck Cancer

Cancers in the head and neck area of the body such as the throat, nose, mouth, sinus passages, thyroid or oesophagus tend to be grouped together and classed as head and neck cancer. They are the 8th most common in the UK and can be linked to excessive alcohol and tobacco use. These are relatively rare, around 10,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the UK. The main treatments currently are chemotherapy, radiotherapy and possibly surgery.

For further information on all head and neck cancers, please see here.


Trial Spotlight


This is a randomised trial which aims to look at different treatments for patients who have been diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the base of the tongue, soft tissues in the palate, tonsils or back wall of the throat) Patients will be assigned by computer to one of four groups and either have a drug and radiotherapy, a drug and chemotherapy, chemoradiotherapy or chemotherapy and surgery. The trial is currently recruiting in Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

Find out more



This study is for patients who have metastatic/recurrent squamous cell head and neck cancer. New drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors work with the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. Cetuximab is a well-established drug that works by blocking signals that tell cancer cells to grow and divide into more cells. It also engages with the immune system within the tumour. Doctors want to see if giving Cetuximab along with an immune checkpoint inhibitor drug called Avelumab is better at treating advanced H&N cancer than giving Avelumab on its own. The drugs have not been used in combination before so the study firstly aims to recruit a small number of patients to look at the correct dosage of the drugs. Secondly, the study will then look to recruit more patients and half will be given the drug Avelumab only and half will be given both drugs to see how they work together well.

This new study is due to open shortly in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.