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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


14 March 2017

Results from two of the comparisons of the STAMPEDE trial, adding the drug celecoxib (with or without zoledronic acid) to long-term hormone therapy for men with prostate cancer, were published yesterday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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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., Sydes, M.R., Clarke, N.W., Mason, M.D., Dearnaley, D.P., Spears, M.R., Ritchie, A.W., Parker, C.C., Russell, J.M., Attard, G., de, Bono J., Cross, W., Jones, R.J., Thalmann, G., Amos, C., Matheson, D., Millman, R., Alzouebi, M., Beesley, S., Birtle, A.J., Brock, S., Cathomas, R., Chakraborti, P., Chowdhury, S., Cook, A., Elliott, T., Gale, J., Gibbs, S., Graham, J.D., Hetherington, J., Hughes, R., Laing, R., McKinna, F., McLaren, D.B., O'Sullivan, J.M., Parikh, O., Peedell, C., Protheroe, A., Robinson, A.J., Srihari, N., Srinivasan, R., Staffurth, J., Sundar, S., Tolan, S., Tsang, D., Wagstaff, J., Parmar, M.

Addition of docetaxel, zoledronic acid, or both to first-line long-term hormone therapy in prostate cancer (STAMPEDE): survival results from an adaptive, multiarm, multistage, platform randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2016; 387:1163-1177-1163-1177

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