Research article suggests stronger treatments are possible for cancer patients

11 May 2018

An article recently published in the journal Clinical Oncology has found that higher doses of radiotherapy were tolerable in patients with certain types of cancers that arise at the back of the throat (oropharynx).

The Archimedes-op study was co-authored by colleagues working at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), the University of Birmingham (UoB) and elsewhere.

Treatment for patients with cancers of the oropharynx is usually through a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, though additional research has shown that cancers not associated with a virus called the “Human Papilloma Virus” are more resistant to these treatments.

The study intensified treatment to these resistant cancers through higher doses of radiotherapy, and saw patients treated with TomoTherapy, which meant high quality techniques could be used to deliver high doses to the tumour site whilst delivering a lower dose to healthy tissue.

The TomoTherapy machine was funded by QEHB Charity. The charity, based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB), one of four hospitals run by UHB, provides cutting-edge equipment the NHS cannot provide.

Victoria Harrop, Senior Research Radiographer, said: “This study aimed to show that the new schedule was tolerable, which I’m pleased to say was the case.

“All patients completed their full course of radiotherapy and a minimum 2 years of follow-up, and the study has since become part of the multi-centre CompARE randomised trial that is open across UHB and other sites.”