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QUARTZ trial opens to recruitment

19 February 2007

The QUARTZ trial will compare Optimal Supportive Care (OSC) with dexamethasone alone with OSC, dexamethasone and whole brain radiotherapy in the treatment of patients with inoperable brain metastases from non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), in terms of quality of life, overall survival, and side-effects.

Standard therapy for patients with inoperable brain metastases from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a combination of steroids and whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT).   However, WBRT causes side effects and has never been shown to correlate with an improved quality or length of survival. 

The QUARTZ trial will compare Optimal Supportive Care alone (OSC, including the steroid dexamethasone) with OSC (including dexamethasone) and WBRT in the treatment of patients with inoperable brain metastases from NSCLC, in terms of quality of life, overall survival, and side-effects. 

QUARTZ has been designed to be very pragmatic.   Thus if a clinician and patient are certain that WBRT will or will not be of benefit, QUARTZ should not be considered.   However, if the clinician and patient are uncertain that WBRT is the way forward, QUARTZ is an opportunity to address that uncertainty.

QUARTZ is now open to recruitment at hospitals in Cardiff, Bristol and Middlesbrough.   Another 80 UK centres and several in Australia and New Zealand will also be participating with 1000 patients being entered over the next 3 years.

The Chief Investigator for this trial is Dr Paula Mulvenna, from the Northern Centre for Cancer Treatment Newcastle General.   For additional information please contact QUARTZ@ctu.mrc.ac.uk