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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 Be Part of Research platform 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.




Breast cancer 

Breast cancer starts in the breast tissue, most commonly in the cells that line the milk ducts of the breast. It is the most common cancer in the UK, mainly affecting women but men can get it too. Around 55,200 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK each year and approximately 390 men (around 150 people a day).

Survival is generally very good for breast cancer and is continuing to improve. Survival depends on many different factors - the type of cancer, what treatment you can have and your level of fitness. 

For further information on breast cancer please visit Cancer Research UK


Trial Spotlight


Women with early breast cancer often have treatment with hormone therapy before surgery. This can help to slow the growth of the cancer so that you may be able to have a smaller operation. 

A common hormone therapy that women who have had their menopause have is letrozole (Femara). In this trial, they are looking at megestrol acetate (Megace), a man-made version of the hormone progesterone. Doctors think that taking megestrol acetate with letrozole may be better at slowing the growth of the cancer, than letrozole alone. After finishing hormone treatment, everyone has surgery to remove the breast cancer. 

The main aim of this trial is to find out if megestrol acetate and letrozole is better than letrozole alone before surgery for breast cancer.

This trial is currently recruiting in Aberdeen and Dundee.



This study is to see if women who only have a very small risk of their breast cancer returning need to have radiotherapy after surgery. 

The main treatment for women with breast cancer is surgery followed by radiotherapy, with or without hormone treatment. Radiotherapy reduces the risk of the cancer coming back in the breast (local recurrence), but radiotherapy has side effects. For women who only have a very small chance of their cancer coming back, the side effects of radiotherapy could outweigh the benefits.

In this study, researchers do an extra test on the sample already taken from a biopsy. The result of this test is used with other routine test results and information about the type of breast cancer and from this, the researchers can create a score that shows who might be at low or very low risk of their cancer coming back.

The study aims to find out which women are at very low risk of their breast cancer coming back and if these women can avoid having radiotherapy treatment.

This trial is recruiting patients in hospitals around Scotland, including Inverness, Aberdeen and Glasgow.



This trial is looking at using a test to determine whether a patient requires chemotherapy or just hormone therapy after having breast surgery. The test will study tissue samples and look at the cancer cells within that sample to determine whether chemotherapy is required.

This trial is recruiting patients in hospitals around Scotland.  



This trial is looking at the need to treat the lymph glands in the armpit after having chemotherapy, followed by surgery for breast cancer.

The standard treatment for breast cancer is chemotherapy to shrink the cancer before surgery. After surgery, you have further treatment to the lymph glands in the armpit on the side where the cancer was. This is to make sure that there is no cancer in the lymph nodes of the armpit and reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.

You have either more surgery to remove the lymph nodes in the armpit or radiotherapy to the armpit. As with all treatments, there are side effects such as a stiff shoulder, numbness or pain in the hand or arm or lymphoedema (swelling).

We know that having chemotherapy before surgery can completely get rid of the cancer in the lymph glands for between 40 to 70 people out of every 100 (40% to 70%).  

The aims of this trial are to find out:

  • whether not treating the lymph glands in the armpit after chemotherapy and surgery is as good as the current treatment. This is for people who don’t have cancer in the lymph nodes of their armpit following chemotherapy
  • whether it reduces the risk of getting lymphoedema and other side effects
  • how it affects the quality of life

This study is currently recruiting patients in hospitals around Scotland.


Brain cancer 

Primary cancers that start in the brain are called brain tumours and these are different to brain cancer (secondary brain cancer) that has started in another part of the body and spread to the brain. Brain tumours can start in any part of the brain and they can be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign). There are about 130 different types of brain tumour, however many of them are very rare.

For more information, visit Cancer Research UK


 Trial Spotlight


This trial is looking at treatment for a type of brain tumour, Ependymoma, generally diagnosed in children and young adults. Treatment is usually surgery followed by radiotherapy, however, there is a risk of the tumour coming back in the same place or elsewhere in the brain or spinal cord. 

This study is investigating whether additional chemotherapy treatment would be beneficial to stop the tumour from returning, whether it is safe to have chemotherapy as well as radiotherapy and also looks at the side effects patients may experience.

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



This study is looking at using the results of laboratory tests on a sample of your medulloblastoma (a type of brain tumour) to decide which type of treatment is best.

It is for children and young people aged from 3 years old to younger than 22.

Currently open in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, soon to open in Glasgow



A UK research study testing tumour (somatic) and normal (germline) DNA and RNA for genetic and gene-expression changes in children, teenagers and young adults whose disease has returned or not responded to treatment.

The results of the tests performed will identify patients who may be eligible for new targeted anti-cancer therapies and will aid research that will help us to more precisely diagnose cancer and understand why some patients do not respond to standard treatments. In addition, the data collected will be used and shared for the purposes of clinical research.

Currently recruiting in Aberdeen and Edinburgh