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Cancer Research in Scotland

The Cancer Network supports a wide range of clinical studies which are helping to progress cancer care in Scotland and beyond, and all Scottish research ongoing within the network is registered with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

The cancer clinical trial portfolio is very dynamic and is frequently changing as studies open and close to recruitment. Across Scotland, there is a wide range of clinical trials happening in different disease sites. Information on trials happening in the UK can be found on the Be Part of Research platform and the Cancer Research UK website. For specific information on trials happening in Scotland please contact your cancer professional or your local cancer research network.

To highlight the clinical trials happening in Scotland the cancer research network will feature current trials happening during the different cancer awareness months that take place throughout the year.





Cancers in the head and neck area of the body, such as the throat, nose, mouth, sinus passages, thyroid or oesophagus, tend to be grouped together and classed as head and neck cancer.

They are the 8th most common in the UK and can be linked to excessive alcohol and tobacco use. These are relatively rare, around 10,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the UK. The main treatments currently are chemotherapy, radiotherapy and possibly surgery.

For further information on all head and neck cancers please visit Cancer Research UK


Trial Spotlight


This is a randomised trial which aims to look at different treatments for patients who have been diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the base of the tongue, soft tissues in the palate, tonsils or back wall of the throat).

Patients will be assigned by computer to one of four groups and either have a drug and radiotherapy, a drug and chemotherapy, chemoradiotherapy or chemotherapy and surgery.

The trial is currently recruiting in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow



This is a phase II trial to assess the efficacy and safety profile of pembrolizumab in patients with performance status 2 (which describes less fit patients who are not able to work and who may have other health problems) with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Pembrolizumab works by helping the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells.

Treatment lasts for up to 24 months and patients will be followed up for up to 30 months from the time they start study treatment.

This trial is currently recruiting in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow



This trial is looking at adding certain targeted drugs to radiotherapy for head and neck cancer. Some parts of the trial are also looking at these treatments with immunotherapy.

This trial is currently recruiting in Aberdeen and soon to open in Edinburgh



These are various different types of cancers that develop in the blood and bone marrow and these can also be divided into acute and chronic leukaemia. Acute leukaemia can develop and progress very quickly, while chronic leukaemia can be treated and kept under control for many years. 

One of the most common ones is Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) which starts from young white blood cells in the bone marrow. Around 3,100 people are diagnosed each year with AML. It can occur in adults or children but is most common in older adults.

For more information please visit Cancer Research UK


Trial Spotlight


This trial compares Ibrutinib vs Retuximab for patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia. New combinations of drugs will be tested to see which work best together, what combination provides fewer side effects and how safe they are.

The trial is currently recruiting in various hospitals in Scotland including Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow



This 1600 patient trial is primarily designed for patients over the age of 60 who are considered fit enough for an intensive chemotherapy approach and will aim to test the effects of adding new treatment agents to commonly used chemotherapy combinations in order to improve patient survival and treatment regimes.

The AML18 trial is available to any patient over the age of 60 who has primary or secondary AML or high risk Myelodysplastic Syndrome.

The trial is currently recruiting in various hospitals in Scotland including Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh and Dundee



This trial is comparing venetoclax and low dose cytarabine with intensive chemotherapy. It is for people with acute myeloid leukaemia aged 60 years and older who have a certain gene change (mutation) called NPM1.

The trial is currently recruiting in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow



This is a type of cancer which develops in the lymph glands or other organs of the lymphatic system. There are 2 types; Hodgkin’s Lymphoma starts in the white blood cells and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) starts in the lymphatic system. There are more than 60 different types of NHL.  

For further information on Lymphoma please visit Cancer Research UK and Lymphoma Action


Trial Spotlight


This trial is looking at whether nivolumab (a type of immunotherapy) can improve treatment before a stem cell transplant for people with Hodgkin lymphoma.

The trial is currently recruiting in Aberdeen and Glasgow



Eligible patients (with previously untreated stage IA/IIA Hodgkin lymphoma) will be randomised to receive either ABVD or A2VD chemotherapy. An interim PET-CT scan will be performed after 2 cycles of treatment, which will be used to adapt subsequent treatment. Patients will receive a total of 3-4 cycles of chemotherapy and may also receive involved site radiotherapy as consolidation. Patients will be followed up for a minimum of 5 years after treatment.

The trial is currently recruiting in Aberdeen and Glasgow



Incidences of cancer diagnosed in children and young people are less common that those found in adults.  Each year approximately 1,800 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in children (0-14 years) and approximately 2,200 cases in those aged between 15 – 24 years old (the age group known as TYA - Teenage and Young Adults).

Both age groups tend to develop different type of cancers to those in adults although treatments for them are usually the same kind e.g. chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.

Extensive research and development has meant survival rates are relatively high, for example lymphomas have a high survival rate of 91%. The most common types of cancer are leukaemia and other blood cancers and tumours of the brain and spinal cord. There are also rarer cancers such as retinoblastoma (eye cancer), neuroblastoma (cancer of the nerve cells), Wilms tumours (cancer of the kidney), lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) and bone and muscle cancers such as Ewing’s sarcoma. 

To find out more about children’s cancer please visit Cancer Research UK and Children with Cancer UK 


Trial Spotlight


This is a trial to improve the outcomes of young children with liver cancer. There are two types of cancer being studied, Hepatoblastoma (HB) and Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Depending on which cancer the patient has, they will be put into one of four groups if they have HB, or one of two groups if they have HCC.

The study will look at whether treating children with less chemotherapy (therefore reducing side effects and toxicity) can still cure the cancer. The trial will also investigate how doctors stage liver cancer, how liver cancer develops, better ways to diagnose cancer and improved surgery techniques.

The trial is recruiting in Aberdeen and Edinburgh



This study will collect information about children with kidney (renal) cancer such as Wilms’ tumour, to help with decisions about treatment in the future. This study was originally called IMPORT (Improving Population Outcomes for Renal Tumours of childhood).This study will collect information about children with kidney (renal) cancer, such as Wilms and other childhood renal tumours, to help with decisions about treatment in the future.

This project aims to improve short and long term outcomes for children and young people through the introduction of a more ‘personalised’ approach to risk stratification.

Currently recruiting in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow



rEECur is a randomised study comparing four different types of chemotherapy to treat Ewing’s sarcoma (a type of bone cancer affecting mainly young adults, teenagers and children), that didn’t respond to treatment or has come back after treatment.

We are primarily interested in finding out which regimen is most effective at making tumour deposits shrink and, in the longer term, at curing the disease or providing prolonged disease control.

Currently recruiting in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow