Focus on the NIHR APPROACH grant

Full title: Analysis of Proton vs. Photon Radiotherapy in Oligodendroglioma and Assessment of Cognitive Health.

  • Congratulations to Associate Professor Louise Murray and Professor Susan Short for securing £1,499,803.64 to address if proton or photon radiotherapy (RT) is the best treatment for patients with oligodendroglioma to reduce long-term side effects.
  • Oligodendroglioma is an uncommon brain tumour with an excellent outlook. Standard treatment involves surgery to remove as much tumour as possible, RT and then chemotherapy. Photon RT is given as lots of small treatments on weekdays over about six weeks. This is the best way to control the tumour whilst minimising side effects in normal brain tissue.
  • Unfortunately, photon RT for oligodendroglioma can cause long-term side effects. These can develop years after RT and can include memory problems and difficulties in processing information. These can have a negative impact on quality of life.
  • Proton RT is an advanced type of RT, also given on weekdays over about six weeks. It requires expensive technology but can reduce the dose of RT delivered to the normal brain, including parts of the brain used for memory and information processing. We do not know, however, if these lower doses result in fewer long-term side-effects..
  • Participants in the study will be randomly assigned (by computer) to receive proton RT or photon RT, with an equal chance of either. We will gather information on long-term brain function, quality of life, other side effects and tumour control. We will also ask carers to complete questionnaires, to assess carer experiences. The study will include 246 patients with oligodendroglioma from across the UK.
  • The study is now recruiting from Leeds, Manchester, Oxford, London, Cambridge and Kent.