Investigating kinder treatments in head and neck cancer: The PATHOS study

“NCRI’s CTRad provided invaluable advice and support during the development of PATHOS. Input from experienced clinical trialists, statisticians, funders and patient representatives helped improve the study design and refine endpoints which made a major contribution to its successful funding application.” Prof. Mererid Evans, Consultant Clinical Oncologist and co-Chief investigator of the PATHOS study.

PATHOS is a trial investigating kinder treatments for head and neck cancer patients. It looks at treatment after surgery for HPV positive oropharyngeal cancer. Funded by Cancer Research UK, the phase III clinical trial aims to determine if less intensive treatment after surgery can reduce toxicity whilst maintaining overall survival. Current post-surgery treatments (radiotherapy or chemoradiation) can result in side-effects for some patients – including losing the ability to swallow.

Prof. Mererid Evans, Consultant Clinical Oncologist and co-Chief investigator of the PATHOS study together with Prof. Terry Jones, first presented the study concept at an NCRI CTRad proposals guidance meeting in 2012. There she received feedback from CTRad’s experts and ongoing guidance in the months and years that followed.

PATHOS recruited its first patient in October 2015 and is aiming to recruit over 1000 patients from the UK and international sites. To facilitate the international roll-out of the trial, CTRad supported a collaboration between Cancer Research UK and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) enabling PATHOS to roll-out in Germany, Switzerland and four other European countries. CTRad has also helped to foster other collaborations that will see the trial being rolled-out in Australia and the USA, making it a truly international study.