Each year, 10 million people are diagnosed with
cancer around the world, and over 6 million people die from
cancer. In 2003, cancer overtook heart disease as the leading
cause of death in both men and women in the
As the population ages, the incidence of many cancers is
increasing. The number of people living with cancer also
continues to increase. 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. However, in most cases advances in
treatment and detection are modest. In this situation,
randomised clinical trials are very important.
The main objectives of the MRC Clinical Trials Unit Cancer Group
- Plan, run, analyse and publish clinical
trials of national and international importance
- Develop all aspects of clinical trial and
- Advance the design, conduct, analysis and
reporting of clinical trials research
The majority of the Cancer Group's work involves the design,
conduct and analysis of clinical trials, covering many different
types of cancer. We have approximately 10 open trials at
any one time, and most of our trials are large randomised
controlled trials, which compare two or more treatments.
Treatments being compared include chemotherapy, radiotherapy,
biological agents, surgery or combinations of these.
In some trials, we also test non-therapeutic approaches such as
different follow-up policies.
Our trials aim to compare treatments by looking at survival,
recurrence, side effects and quality of life.