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Dexamethasone and Supportive Care With or Without Whole-Brain Radiation Therapy in Treating Patients With Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer That Has Spread to the Brain and Cannot Be Removed By Surgery

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Cancer Institute (NCI) Identifier:
First received: November 21, 2006
Last updated: August 23, 2013
Last verified: January 2007

RATIONALE: Steroid therapy, such as dexamethasone, may reduce swelling, pain, and other symptoms of inflammation and may be effective in treating some of the problems caused by cancer and cancer treatment. Supportive care improves the quality of life of patients with a serious or life-threatening disease, and prevents or treats symptoms of cancer, side effects of treatment, and other problems related to cancer or its treatment. Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill tumor cells. It is not yet known whether dexamethasone given together with supportive care is more effective with or without whole-brain radiation therapy in treating patients with brain metastases.

PURPOSE: This randomized phase III trial is studying dexamethasone and supportive care to see how well it works with or without whole-brain radiation therapy in improving the quality of life of patients with non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to the brain and cannot be removed by surgery.

Condition Intervention Phase
Lung Cancer
Metastatic Cancer
Drug: dexamethasone
Procedure: quality-of-life assessment
Radiation: radiation therapy
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Quality of Life After Radiotherapy & Steroids. A Phase III Multi-Centre Randomised Controlled Trial to Assess Whether Optimal Supportive Care Alone (Including Dexamathasone) is As Effective as Optimal Supportive Care (Including Dexamethasone ) Plus Whole Brain Radiotherapy in the Treatment of Patients With Inoperable Brain Metastases From Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Cancer Institute (NCI):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Patient-assessed quality adjusted life years

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Overall survival
  • Karnofsky performance status
  • Patient symptoms
  • Assessment and measurement of caregiver concerns

Estimated Enrollment: 1000
Study Start Date: October 2006
Study Completion Date: March 2013
Detailed Description:



  • Compare the efficacy of dexamethasone with vs without whole-brain radiotherapy in combination with optimal supportive care, in terms of patient assessed quality adjusted life years, in patients with inoperable brain metastases secondary to non-small cell lung cancer.


  • Compare the overall survival of patients treated with these regimens.
  • Assess the Karnofsky performance status of patients treated with these regimens.
  • Assess the symptoms of patients treated with these regimens.
  • Determine the feasibility of assessing and measuring caregiver concerns.

OUTLINE: This is a randomized, controlled, multicenter study. Patients are randomized to 1 of 2 treatment arms.

  • Arm I (experimental): Patients receive dexamethasone*. Patients receive optimal supportive care (OSC) including a prescription of a proton pump inhibitor while on dexamethasone, parallel nursing support, access to additional specialists (e.g., pain-relief service, palliative care team, medical social worker, or physiotherapist), and open access to follow-up in a specialist clinic. OSC may also include analgesics, bronchodilators, and other supportive treatment as needed.
  • Arm II (control): Patients receive dexamethasone* and OSC as in arm I. Patients also undergo whole-brain radiotherapy once daily for 5 days in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

NOTE: *Patients who are receiving prednisolone at randomization need to convert to dexamethasone immediately.

All patients undergo telephone assessment, including quality of life assessment, once a week for 12 weeks and then once every 4 weeks thereafter. Consenting caregivers complete questionnaire over the telephone once a week to assess the impact of the patient's disease and treatment on the caregiver's quality of life.

After completion of study treatment, patients are followed periodically.

PROJECTED ACCRUAL: At least 1,000 patients will be accrued for this study.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No


  • Histologically or cytologically confirmed primary non-small cell lung cancer
  • Must have brain metastases confirmed by CT scan or MRI

    • Unresectable disease OR surgery is deemed inappropriate
  • The benefit or lack of benefit of whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) cannot be clearly defined

    • Any known certainty of the benefit or lack of benefit of WBRT is not allowed


  • No prior or concurrent uncontrolled illness that could preclude study treatment or comparisons
  • Must be able to respond to weekly telephone assessment questions


  • More than 1 week since prior epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors
  • More than 1 month since prior chemotherapy
  • More than 1 month since prior surgery for brain metastases
  • No prior radiotherapy to the brain
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00403065

  Show 70 Study Locations
Sponsors and Collaborators
Medical Research Council
Study Chair: Paula Mulvenna Northern Centre for Cancer Treatment at Newcastle General Hospital
  More Information Identifier: NCT00403065     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: CDR0000517194
TROG 07.02
Study First Received: November 21, 2006
Last Updated: August 23, 2013

Keywords provided by National Cancer Institute (NCI):
recurrent non-small cell lung cancer
stage IV non-small cell lung cancer
tumors metastatic to brain

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Lung Neoplasms
Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung
Neoplasm Metastasis
Respiratory Tract Neoplasms
Thoracic Neoplasms
Neoplasms by Site
Lung Diseases
Respiratory Tract Diseases
Carcinoma, Bronchogenic
Bronchial Neoplasms
Neoplastic Processes
Pathologic Processes
Dexamethasone acetate
Dexamethasone 21-phosphate
BB 1101
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Autonomic Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Gastrointestinal Agents
Hormones, Hormone Substitutes, and Hormone Antagonists
Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
Antineoplastic Agents
Protease Inhibitors
Enzyme Inhibitors processed this record on April 25, 2017