The second therapeutic intervention in malignant effusion trial

Can a special catheter help people who have fluid around their lungs caused by cancer?

What is this study about?

Patients with cancer that has spread (metastasised) often have fluid collecting around their lungs. This is called malignant pleural effusion. This problem affects more than 250,000 people every year in the UK and USA, and can cause unpleasant symptoms such as breathlessness and coughing.

Doctors usually treat this condition by doing a pleurodesis. This is when doctors drain the fluid off and then seal the cavity, using a drug which is given into a chest drain. Pleurodesis is often very painful.

Researchers and doctors have developed a special chest catheter (or tube) that patients can use themselves to drain the fluid that collects around their lungs. This means that they don’t have to have a pleurodesis. They may be able to control their breathlessness better, too.

This trial will compare whether using one of these special catheters can help people to control their breathlessness more effectively than the usual treatment (pleurodesis). People who take part will be randomised to either pleurodesis or an indwelling catheter. It will also compare the safety of these two treatments, and the quality of life of those who take part.

Type of study

Randomised trial

Contact details


Who is funding the study?

This trial is being funded by the UK charity the British Lung Foundation.

When is it taking place?

This trial opened to recruitment in 2007 and closed in 2011.

Where is it taking place?

Four sites (Oxford, Reading, Buckinghamshire and Banbury).

Who is included?

This trial will recruit 114 people with malignant pleural effusion.