New European study will devise ways to reduce the side-effects of radiotherapy

September 12, 2013, University of Manchester

Scientists from The University of Manchester are leading a new European study to come up with methods to reduce the unwanted side-effects of radiotherapy and improve cancer treatment.

The research, funded by the European Union and involving 13 institutions in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands and the US, will identify ways to predict which breast, prostate and are most likely to suffer long-term .

These findings will then be used to design trials that test if can be tailored more specially to individuals so that the worse side effects of radiation – such as bowel or bladder incontinence can be avoided.

There are 17.8million people living in the European Union with a diagnosis of and seven million of these people might receive - a treatment that involves the use of high- to kill .

In the long-term around 20% of those suffering with mild to severe side-effects – 1.4 million people – could benefit from the improvements the study brings.

Professor Catharine West, Professor of Radiation Biology at The University of Manchester's Institute of Cancer Sciences who is leading the £5million study, said: "Long-term side-effects of radiotherapy impact on the quality-of-life of cancer survivors.

"Earlier work has identified clinical and biological predictors but more work and a better co-ordinated approach is needed to validate these findings so that they can be used in hospitals when treating patients.

"The study, known as REQUITE, aims to develop new clinical models and incorporate biomarkers to identify, before treatment, cancer patients at risk of side-effects. We can then use these models to design interventional trials aimed at reducing side-effects and improving quality of care in who undergo radiotherapy."

The five-year study, which gets underway next month, is the first major grant won by members of the Radiogenomics Consortium, a collaboration set up in 2009 to work on projects identifying the common genetic variations that influence a cancer patient's likelihood of developing side-effects from radiotherapy. REQUITE includes a four year observational study of undergoing radiotherapy across Europe, US and in the UK, including The Christie NHS Foundation Trust. Patients will each give a blood sample, from which DNA will be extracted and genotyped to identify genetic variation. Scientists can then look at this variation in terms of the side effects experienced by the patient and use this information to confirm and/or improve current models that try to predict a patient's response to radiotherapy. In the future this type of research could reduce side effects for all radiotherapy patients, improve quality of life and potentially increase the number of patients successfully treated for their cancer.

Professor West, who is also part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, a partnership between The University of Manchester, The Christie and Cancer Research UK, added: "Radiotherapy can damage healthy normal tissues which causes side-effects, most are short-lived getting better within a few days or weeks of treatment and might include sore skin, tiredness and hair loss but some can appear months to years following treatment.

"The side-effects can have a long-term impact on such as if people feel unable to leave their homes for fear of incontinence."

Dr Susan Davidson will run the study at The Christie. Dr Davidson said: "The research will play a role in the long-term goal to make cancer treatment more personalised to individuals. This study should mean that in future doctors can look at a patient's biomarkers by taking a blood test and design their treatment accordingly.

"We will begin recruiting patients to this study when it opens in April 2014."

Professor West added: "This focus on personalised medicine is one of the key things the new Manchester Cancer Research Centre is working hard to do – bringing together a wide range of expertise to revolutionise cancer treatment. By collaborating with specialist partners in Europe and the US, this study we will be the largest of its kind and should provide the clearest picture yet about how different people respond to radiotherapy."

Explore further: Chemotherapy before radiotherapy for testicular cancer could reduce long-term side-effects

Related Stories

Chemotherapy before radiotherapy for testicular cancer could reduce long-term side-effects

August 16, 2013
Giving men with testicular cancer a single dose of chemotherapy alongside radiotherapy could improve the effectiveness of treatment and reduce the risk of long-term side-effects, a new study reports. As many as 96% of men ...

Despite hype, costly prostate cancer treatment offers little relief from side effects

December 13, 2012
Prostate cancer patients receiving the costly treatment known as proton radiotherapy experienced minimal relief from side effects such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction, compared to patients undergoing a standard radiation ...

Accelerated radiotherapy more efficient than current practice

September 4, 2013
Radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy is increasingly being used in the curative treatment for un-resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). But, until now, researchers had not looked at the cost-effectiveness of the ...

Diabetes drug makes lung cancer vulnerable to radiotherapy

May 1, 2013
The diabetes drug metformin slows the growth of lung cancer cells and makes them more likely to be killed by radiotherapy, according to a study published in the British Journal of Cancer today.

Two radiotherapy treatments show similar morbidity, cancer control after prostatectomy

May 20, 2013
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy has become the most commonly used type of radiation in prostate cancer, but research from the University of North Carolina suggests that the therapy may not be more effective than older, ...

Carbon ion radiotherapy safe and effective for treating inoperable spinal tumors

August 12, 2013
A new analysis has found that a type of radiation therapy called carbon ion radiotherapy can control cancer growth and prolong survival in patients with spinal tumors. Published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal ...

Recommended for you

Cancer patients who tell their life story find more peace, less depression

January 22, 2018
Fifteen years ago, University of Wisconsin–Madison researcher Meg Wise began interviewing cancer patients nearing the end of life about how they were living with their diagnosis. She was surprised to find that many asked ...

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.