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Cancer affects more than 14 million people worldwide each year and is a leading cause of death in adults in the UK. As the population ages, the incidence of many cancers is increasing, but the number of people living with cancer also continues to increase. In the UK the survival rate overall has now improved to over 50%.

This is because of improvements in treatments, which prolong people's lives, and because some cancers are being detected earlier, as a result of screening.

There have been some major advances in the treatment of cancer in the past 20 years. These are built upon multiple modest improvements in treatment and detection, which become clear when they are tested in randomised clinical trials. These trials are the main focus of the MRC CTU at UCL.

Useful links:

Cancer Research UK

The Institute of Cancer Research

International Agency for Research on Cancer


The majority of our work in cancer involves the design, conduct and analysis of clinical trials, covering many different types of cancer. Most of our trials are large randomised controlled trials, which compare two or more treatments including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, biological agents, surgery or combinations of these. In some trials, we also test new diagnostic strategies or non-therapeutic approaches such as different follow-up policies.

Our trials compare treatments by looking at survival, return of disease, side effects and quality of life.

We also work closely with the Unit's meta-analysis group

Our research strategy in the coming years:

Our particular strengths lie in developing innovative clinical trials which sometimes relate to specific types of cancer but often can be applied more broadly. Our current and future research can broadly be classified into three main programmes:

1. Speeding up therapeutic evaluation by implementing new trial designs and methodology

2. Stratified medicine and translational science within large scale randomised trials

3. Trials that are particularly challenging or which have potential global reach

chemotherapy sign


08 September 2017

The results of the ICON8 trial show that for women with ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer or primary peritoneal cancer, having chemotherapy weekly is no better than having chemotherapy once every three weeks. These results were presented earlier today at the European Society for Medical Oncology annual meeting in Madrid.

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Lung TKIs

Should tyrosine kinase inhibitors be considered for advanced non-small cell lung cancer with wild type EGFR? Two systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomised trials

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James, N.D., de Bono, J.S., Spears, M.R., Clarke, N.W., Mason, M.D., Dearnaley, D.P., Ritchie, A.W.S., Amos, C.L., Gilson, C., Jones, R.J., Matheson, D., Millman, R., Attard, G., Chowdhury, S., Cross, W.R., Gillessen, S., Parker, C.C., Russell, J.M., Berthold, D.R., Brawley, C., Adab, F., Aung, S., Birtle, A.J., Bowen, J., Brock, S., Chakraborti, P., Ferguson, C., Gale, J., Gray, E., Hingorani, M., Hoskin, P.J., Lester, J.F., Malik, Z.I., McKinna, F., McPhail, N., Money-Kyrle, J., O'Sullivan, J., Parikh, O., Protheroe, A., Robinson, A., Srihari, N.N., Thomas, C., Wagstaff, J., Wylie, J., Zarkar, A., Parmar, M.K.B., Sydes, M.R., Stampede Investigato.

Abiraterone for prostate cancer not previously treated with hormone therapy. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2017.

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