TRACERx (Tracking Cancer Evolution through Therapy)

TRACERx  – has been launched by Cancer Research UK and will recruit 850 lung cancer patients from across the UK and take samples of their tumour before and following surgery and subsequently if the disease recurs.Biopsies will be taken from different parts of each patient's tumour and analysed with the latest technology to give a more comprehensive genetic profile. Different parts of a tumour can evolve independently, so a sample from one region alone might contain different genetic changes to another sample, elsewhere in the tumour. Patients will also have blood tests to examine DNA from the cancer that might be circulating in the bloodstream.


Researchers will then be able to compare genetic changes within and between patients, record how the treatment changes the genetic profile of their disease, and how this ultimately affects the patients' chances of survival.

The combination of these techniques will give an unprecedented insight into lung cancer and allow researchers to identify and understand the precise genetic makeup of lung cancers. The results will also lay the foundations for being able to offer patients treatment that is tailored to the specific genetic makeup of their cancer.


University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will be leading the thoracic surgery for the research.

Professor Charles Swanton, lead researcher at the UCL Cancer Institute, said: "Success in treating lung cancer has been difficult to achieve but we're hoping to change that. The first step to improving cancer diagnosis and treatment is to understand more about the disease and how it changes over time.

"Research has led us to this point when, after decades of earlier work, we can look to the future with real optimism. We plan to harness new sequencing technologies to trace the genetic evolution of cancer over the course of the disease. Our research will help explain why lung cancer is difficult to treat, and steer a path towards saving more lives."


Professor Sam Janes, Lung Cancer Pathway Director at London Cancer said: "This is a huge commitment to lung cancer research from Cancer Research UK and it's great that Professor Charlie Swanton at UCL will be running this with London Cancer at the lead. Patients undergoing surgery at University College Hospital will have their cancer checked for mutated genes before and after any accompanying chemotherapy. Through this work we hope to be able to understand why some patients respond to chemotherapy and why some don't."


Other research centres taking part in the study are: Velindre Cancer Centre Cardiff, Birmingham University Hospital, Leicester Hospital, Cancer Research UK’s Paterson Institute for Cancer Research at The University of Manchester, The Christie Hospital in Manchester and University Hospital South Manchester and the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

TRACERx - The Patient View

About two years ago, about two months before Terrence’s diagnosis, we announced plans for a pioneering study to transform how lung cancer – the world’s biggest cancer killer – is understood. Click here to read Terrence's story.

Read the last news on this innovative study
TRACERx Patient Newsletter Summer 2015.p[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [609.7 KB]
TRACERx summary for patients v1.0 22-12-[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [88.0 KB]
Tracking Genomic Cancer Evolution for Precision Medicine: The Lung TRACERx Study, PLoS Biol. 2014 Jul 8;12(7)
Authors include ICPV members Tom Haswell, Mairead MacKenzie and Maggie Wilcox
Adobe Acrobat document [700.8 KB]


AllTrials logo


VOICE 2022

We are pleased to announce that the VOICE course will be residential and held at Barts Cancer Centre from 4-8 Sept. Click here for further details.


OPTIMA is a patient driven clinical study for people with hormone sensitive early breast cancer. 

OPTIMA aims to improve the way we make decisions about whom we offer chemotherapy to following surgery.
Check the website link for more information or listen to the short video to explain the trial.


Immunology Talk

On the 25th March we held an interactive talk and discussion on immunology.

The talk was given by Dr Edd James, Cancer Immunologist from the university of Southampton. The tallk is now available on YouTube - click here to listen. 


Long Term Survivor Study 

Continuum Life Sciences are looking for volunteers who have survived aggressive, difficult to treat cancer against all odds to take part in their Long-Term Survivor of Cancer Study. For more information and how you can join go to their website.


Save the planet and donate to ICPV - send ecards go tour Fundraising page for mor information.

FAST-Forward Trial Results

A one-week course of radiotherapy in fewer but larger daily doses was found to be as safe and effective as standard three-week therapy for women following surgery for early stage breast cancer. Trial results now published. Two ICPV members provided the PPI for this key trial. Full details can be found on the ICR Website.

ICPV Brighton Summer School Aug 2019

ICPV was once again hosted by SHORE-C at the University of Sussex. Click here for more info.

San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, 2018

ICPV member Pat Fairbrother attended this event on an Alamo Foundation Scholarship. Click here to read her review.

Gap Analysis in Breast Surgery Published

The 2013 Breast Cancer Campaign gap analysis established breast cancer research priorities without a specific focus on surgical research or the role of surgeons on breast cancer research. This Review aims to identify opportunities and priorities for research in breast surgery to complement the 2013 gap analysis. Click here for more information

ICPV Review 2018
We have at last published a new edition of our review. This was achieved by a grant from Novartis. Click here for more information. 

Award for ICPV Member

Many congratulations to ICPV member Margaret Grayson. On 21 April 2018 she received the Iris Colvin Lifetime Achievement Award for Health, presented by the Women’s Forum of Northern Ireland. This is very well deserved for her tireless work in furthering cancer research especially in Northern Ireland.

Contact us by email



Or use our online contact form