Now open, the HN11 SELECT trial looking at a personalized radiotherapy treatment for throat cancer

A new treatment that could improve the quality of life for oropharyngeal cancer patients

SPECT-CT Guided ELEctive Contralateral Neck Treatment (Select) for Patients with Lateralized Oropharyngeal Cancer. 

CCTG HN11 SELECT has now opened to accrual across Canada and sites in the US. The trial is a randomized, controlled, phase III clinical trial for patients with lateralized oropharyngeal carcinoma (OPC) and will compare the effectiveness of standard radiotherapy to personalized radiotherapy guided by the lymphatic mapping technique using SPECT-CT.

The trial will use SPECT-CT to image the neck and see if this helps to identify lymphatic drainage patterns that identify areas at risk for cancer recurrence or progression within the neck which should be treated with radiotherapy to prevent this from happening.

“The SELECT study is extremely significant in the fact that it looks to preserve such a large population of head and neck cancer patients from over-treatment with radiation and, instead, looks to personalize treatment to provide a better outcome for the patient,” says Dr John de Almeida, UHN Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, the Co-Principal Investigator and Surgical Oncology Lead.  The Radiation Oncology Lead and Co-Principal Investigator is Dr. Ali Hosni, also from  Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

OPC is one of the most common types of head and neck cancer. The standard of care for these patients is to administer radiotherapy to both sides of the neck to treat cancer deposits including those which cannot be readily detected.  Cancerous lymph nodes on the opposite side of the neck occurs in only 15% of the patients and routinely treating both sides of the neck may represent over-treatment and increase the risk of side effects such as swallowing impairment, dry mouth, and temporary feeding tube insertion.

Bill Richardson, the CCTG Patient Representative who supports the Head and Neck committee, asserts, “I received radiation treatment for throat cancer several years ago. During my treatment I had major problems with eating and swallowing because of the radiation. Based on my experience, I am excited about this trial and the possibility of a new treatment that could significantly improve the quality of life, both short and long term for oropharyngeal cancer patients.”

This important study received $3,203,435 in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and is supported in the US through the National Clinical Trails Network.

For more information, please visit clinicaltrials.gov (NCT05451004)