A new Clinical Trial funding has been awarded to Clinical Oncology Consultant & Associate Professor Dr Crispin Hiley at RadNet from Asthma & Lung UK. The new study will be focusing on HIT-MESO: Proton Radiotherapy for cancer of the lining of the lung (Mesothelioma).

Pleural mesothelioma is cancer which begins in the tissues lining the lungs. There are limited treatments and survival rates are low. Conventional photon radiotherapy is not routinely used for mesothelioma because the amount of lung tissue required to be treated with radiation is large (half of the chest). This would lead to a high rate of side effects, which may be severe. Where photon radiotherapy has been used for other lung cancers (smaller areas), it has been shown in previous studies to help people who are treated with it to live longer.

Proton therapy is a type of radiotherapy which results in less radiation to healthy tissues surrounding the cancer compared to photon radiotherapy. It is now first choice over photon radiotherapy for many cancers in children / young adults, and for those patients who have tumours very close to parts of the body where radiation may be harmful such as the spinal cord.

Using proton therapy for mesothelioma would greatly reduce radiation to the heart, other lung and other nearby organs like the oesophagus (which is why side effect rates are high with photon radiotherapy). This trial aims to use proton radiotherapy for patients with mesothelioma of the lung lining to improve overall survival and maintain a better quality of life for longer.

All patients with mesothelioma of the lining of one lung will be considered for the trial. If they meet the eligibility criteria, they will be randomly allocated to receive either the proton radiation, or, the current standard of care for mesothelioma, which are; chemotherapy, photon radiation to small areas for symptom control or monitoring. The proton radiation will be delivered daily (Monday-Friday) over 5 weeks at the proton centre in London or Manchester. The trial aims to recruit 148 patients in total.