Oncology Clinical Trials Office (OCTO)

Sarah Pearson, Trial Management Director

The Oncology Clinical Trials Office (OCTO) provides clinical trial management support to investigators across the CRUK Oxford Centre to manage trials from concept to completion.

+44 (0)1865 227160

Research Summary

OCTO was established in 2002 to run trials concerned with the practical application of high quality research into innovative and effective cancer therapies and prevention strategies. We aim to become the leading centre for translational early phase oncology trials in the UK.

We work with investigators to deliver trials in medical oncology, radiotherapy and imaging from first-in-human drug trials to large phase 3 clinical studies across a range of tumour types.  We have particular expertise in delivering early phase multi-centre trials for biologically distinct populations. By working with over 250 study sites (hospitals) and collaborating academic groups in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia we have recruited over 10,000 patients into trials.

We have established excellent working relationships with academic groups, research communities, industry and patients to support the work of our partner organisations:

  • CRUK Oxford Centre
  • CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology
  • NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Cancer Theme
  • CRUK & EPSRC Cancer Imaging Centre in Oxford
  • Oxford Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)

We also work closely with colleagues in the state-of-the-art NHS Oxford Cancer and Haematology Centre to ensure that opportunities for collaborative research are maximised and that research is rapidly and efficiently translated into cutting-edge clinical treatment for cancer patients.

OCTO is the oncology division of the UKCRC registered Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit (OCTRU) and a member of the NCRI Cancer CTUs Working Group.

Our trial portfolio

The portfolio includes a range of projects from first in human drug trials through to large Phase III clinical studies. Studies assess interventions including radiotherapy, drug combinations and novel imaging techniques.

Our current portfolio is divided into 3 categories:
  • Late phase
  • Early phase
  • Radiotherapy and Imaging.

Tumour types include: colorectal, oesophageal, melanoma, lung, breast, cervical, haematology, and bone sarcoma, in both adjuvant and advanced disease.

Scientific focus includes: angiogenesis, hypoxia, biomarkers and signalling pathways to improve the specificity of cancer treatment.

Details of our current portfolio can be found in the Clinical Trials section below.


Sarah Pearson joined OCTO in 2004 and took on the role of Trial Management Director for the unit in 2008.  Before this she worked for Cancer Research UK on cancer genetics and epidemiology.



  • Rachel S Kerr, Sharon Love, Eva Segelov, Elaine Johnstone, Beverly Falcon, Peter Hewett, Andrew Weaver, David Church, Claire Scudder,  Sarah Pearson, Patrick Julier, Francesco Pezzella, Ian Tomlinson, Enric Domingo, David J Kerr. www.thelancet.com/oncology Published online September 19, 2016. Adjuvant capecitabine plus bevacizumab versus capecitabine alone in patients with colorectal cancer (QUASAR 2): an open-label, randomised phase 3 trial. Follow link to full article - http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(16)30172-3/fulltext



  • Eyre TA, Clifford R, Roberts C, Boyle L, Francis A, Schuh A, Dutton SJ. Single arm NCRI phase II study of CHOP in combination with Ofatumumab in induction and maintenance for patients with newly diagnosed Richter’s syndrome. Accepted for publication BMC Cancer 2015. Follow link to the full article - www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2407/15/52


  • Weaver A, Love SB Larsen M, Shanyinde M, Waters R, Grainger, L, Shearwood V, Brooks C, Gibson O, Young AM, Tarassenko, L. Supportive Care in Cancer 22(10):2677-2685, 2014. A pilot study: dose adaptation of capecitabine using mobile phone toxicity monitoring - supporting patients in their homes. Click here to read the full article
  • Nicum S, Roberts C, Boyle L, Kopijasz S, Gourley C, Hall M, Montes A, Poole C, Collins L, Schuh A, Dutton S. A phase II clinical trial of 6-mercaptopurine (6MP) and methotrexate in patients with BRCA defective tumours: a study protocol. Accepted for publication BMC Cancer 2014. Follow link to the full article - www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2407/14/983
  • Robin H. Kennedy, E. Anne Francis, Rose Wharton, Jane M. Blazeby, Philip Quirke,  Nicholas P. West,  and Susan J. Dutton, (2014) Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial of Conventional Versus Laparoscopic Surgery for Colorectal Cancer Within an Enhanced Recovery Programme: EnROL JCO Jun 10, 2014:1804-1811. Follow link to the full article- jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2014/05/05/JCO.2013.54.3694
  • FOXFIRE protocol: an open-label, randomised, phase III trial of 5-fluorouracil, oxaliplatin and folinic acid (OxMdG) with or without interventional Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) as first-line treatment for patients with unresectable liver-only or liver-dominant metastatic colorectal cancer. Susan J Dutton, Nicola Kenealy, Sharon B Love, Harpreet S Wasan, Ricky A Sharma and on behalf of the FOXFIRE Protocol Development Group and the NCRI Colorectal Clinical Study Group (2014). BMC Cancer 2014, 14:497 - Follow link to the abstract- www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25011439
  •  Gupta et al. DOC-MEK: a double-blinded randomized phase II trial of docetaxel with or without selumetinib in wild-type BRAF advanced melanoma. Annals of Oncology 25:968-974, 2014.  Click here to read the full article.
  • Susan J Dutton MSc, Prof David R Ferry PhD, Prof Jane M Blazeby MD, Haider Abbas MRCP, Asa Dahle-Smith MBChB, Wasat Mansoor PhD, Joyce Thompson FRCP, Mark Harrison PhD, Anirban Chatterjee FRCR, Stephen Falk MD, Angel Garcia-Alonso MD, David W Fyfe MD, Richard A Hubner PhD, Tina Gamble Lynnda Peachey BSc, Mina Davoudianfar BA, Sarah R Pearson BSc, Patrick Julier MSc, Prof Janusz Jankowski PhD, Rachel Kerr MD, Russell D Petty MRCP (2014) Gefitinib for oesophageal cancer progressing after chemotherapy (COG): a phase 3, multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised trial The Lancet Oncology Volume 15, No. 8, p894–904, July 2014 - Follow link to the full article sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470204514700245
  • Dan Rosmarin, Claire Palles, David Church, Enric Domingo, Angela Jones, Elaine Johnstone, Haitao Wang, Sharon Love, Patrick Julier, Claire Scudder, George Nicholson, Anna Gonzalez-Neira, Miguel Martin, Daniel Sargent, Erin Green, Howard McLeod, Ulrich M. Zanger, Matthias Schwab, Michael Braun, Matthew Seymour, Lindsay Thompson, Benjamin Lacas, Valérie Boige, Nuria Ribelles, Shoaib Afzal, Henrik Enghusen, Søren Astrup Jensen, Marie-Christine Etienne-Grimaldi, Gérard Milano, Mia Wadelius, Bengt Glimelius, Hans Garmo, Milena Gusella, Thierry Lecomte, Pierre Laurent-Puig, Eva Martinez-Balibrea, Rohini Sharma, Jesus Garcia-Foncillas, Zdenek Kleibl, Alain Morel, Jean-Pierre Pignon, Rachel Midgley, David Kerr and Ian Tomlinson (2014) Genetic markers of toxicity from capecitabine and other 5-fluorouracil-based regimens: investigation in the QUASAR2 study, systematic review and meta-analysis, JCO April 1, 2014 vol. 32 no. 10 1031-1039 - Follow link to the full article jco.ascopubs.org/content/32/10/1031


  • Kennedy et al. BMC Cancer 2012, 12:181. EnROL: a multicentre randomised trial of convential versus laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer within an enhanced recovery programme. Click here to read the full article


  • Jim Paul, Tim Iveson, Rachel Midgley, Andrea Harkin, Michelle Masterton, Laura Alexander, Jim Cassidy (2011), Choice of randomisation time-point in noninferiority studies of reduced treatment duration: experience from the SCOT study Trials 2011, 12(Suppl 1):A30 - Follow the link to read article - www.trialsjournal.com/content/12/S1/A30
  • Boyd, K, Briggs A, Paul J, Iveson T, Midgely R, Harkin A, Bates G, Alexander L, Cassidy J. (2011); Analysis of adverse events and quality of life data for an economic evaluation of adjuvant chemotherapy in colorectal cancer: when can we stop collecting? Trials 2011 Dec; 12(S1):A41. Follow the link to read article -  http://www.trialsjournal.com/content/12/S1/A41


  •  Richard M. Goldberg, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC Monica M. Bertagnolli, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA. (2010) Victor Spoiled? (Editorial) JCO.21031.6653; Click here to read the full article.
  • Midgley RS, McConkey C, Kerr DJ et al. Final Results of the VICTOR Trial: A Phase III Randomized Trial Assessing Rofecoxib in the Adjuvant Setting of Colorectal Cancer. Finalized and published J Clin Oncol 2010. Click here to read the full article.
  • Kerr DJ, Midgley R. Can We Treat Cancer for a Dollar a Day?  Guidelines for Low-Income Countries. Accepted for publication N Engl J Med 2010


  • Walther A, Johnstone E, Swanton C, Midgley R, Tomlinson I, Kerr D. (2009); Genetic prognostic and predictive markers in colorectal cancer. Nature Rev Cancer 2009 Jul; 9(7):489-99. Click <here> to read the full article.


  • R.A. Sharma, H.S. Wasan, S.B. Love, S. Dutton,  J.C. Stokes,  J.L. Smith (2008), on behalf of the FOXFIRE Trial Management Group, FOXFIRE: A Phase III Clinical Trial of Chemo-radio-embolisation as First-line Treatment of Liver Metastases in Patients with Colorectal Cancer April 2008 Volume 20 (3) Pages 261–263. Follow link to read full article www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0936655507009326


  • A. Weaver, A.M Young, J. Rowntree, N. Townsend, S. Pearson, J. Smith, O. Gibbon, W. Cobern, M. Larsen & L. Tarassenko (2007). Application of mobile phone technology for managing chemotherapy-associated side-effects. Ann Oncol. 2007 Oct; 18: 1887-1892. Click <here> to read the full article.
  • Kerr DJ, Dunn JA, Langman MJ, Smith JL, Midgley RS, Stanley A, Stokes JC, Julier P, Iveson C, Duvvuri R, McConkey CC; VICTOR Trial Group.(2007) Rofecoxib and cardiovascular adverse events in adjuvant treatment of colorectal cancer. N Engl J Med 2007 July 7; 26;357(4):360-9. Click <here> to read the full article.
  • Quasar Collaborative Group, Gray R, Barnwell J, McConkey C, Hills RK, Williams NS, Kerr DJ.(2007) Adjuvant chemotherapy versus observation in patients with colorectal cancer: a randomised study. Lancet. 2007 Dec 15; 370(9604):2020-9. Click <here> to read the full article.


  • Midgley RS, Kerr DJ (2000) Towards post-genomic investigation of colorectal cancer  Lancet 2000 Feb 26; 355 : 669-670. Click <here> to read the full article.
  • Kerr DJ, Gray R, McConkey C, Barnwell J. QUASAR Colorectal Cancer Study Group. (2000) Adjuvant chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil, L-folinic acid and levamisole for patients with colorectal cancer: non-randomised comparison of weekly versus four-weekly schedules--less pain, same gain.  Ann Oncol. 2000 Aug; 11(8):947-55. Click <here> to read the full article.
  • QUASAR Collaborative Group. Comparison of flourouracil with additional levamisole, higher-dose folinic acid, or both, as adjuvant chemotherapy for colorectal cancer: a randomised trial. Lancet 2000 May 6; 355(9215):1588-96. Click <here> to read the full article.
  • Mark E. Larsen, Joanna Rowntree, Annie M. Young, Sarah Pearson, Justine Smith, Oliver J. Gibson, Andrew Weaver, Lionel Tarassenko (2000) Chemotherapy Side-Effect Management Using Mobile Phones. 30th Annual International IEEE EMBS Conference, Vancouver, BC, Canada, August 20-24, 2008. Follow link to read abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19163877

Associated Researchers



Clinical Trials

Chief Investigator:
ATR inhibitor and radiotherapy in oesophageal cancer
Chief Investigator:
Prof Somnath Mukherjee
An open-labelled study to characterise Fluciclovine (18F) uptake measured by positron emission tomography in breast cancer
Chief Investigator:
Dr Simon Lord
A single arm exploratory study examining the feasibility of imaging glioblastoma pH using CEST MRI
Chief Investigator:
Dr Somnath Mukherjee
Systemic therapy and Chemoradiation in Advanced LOcalised Pancreatic cancer – 2
Chief Investigator:
Atovaquone as Tumour hypOxia Modifier
Chief Investigator:
Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) pre-operatively for borderline resectable pancreatic cancer.
Chief Investigator:
Rebecca Muirhead
Anal squamous cell carcinoma: Investigation of functional imaging during Chemoradiotherapy (CRT)
Chief Investigator:
A phase I dose escalation study of the PI3K inhibitor BKM120, given concomitantly with palliative radiotherapy for the treatment of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC).
Chief Investigator:
Ricky Sharma and Harpreet Wasan
An open-label randomised phase III trial of 5-Fluorouracil, OXaliplatin and Folinic acid +/- Interventional Radio-Embolisation as first line treatment for patients with unresectable liver-only or liver-predominant metastatic colorectal cancer.
Chief Investigator:
RHYTHM-I: modulation of Radiotherapy according to HYpoxia: exploiting changes in the Tumour Microenvironment to improve outcome in rectal cancer
A Phase II Multi-Centre Randomised Controlled Study Of Nelfinavir Addition to Radiotherapy Treatment In Neo-Adjuvant Therapy for Rectal Cancer.
About Us
We aim to enhance clinical and basic cancer research in Oxford with the ultimate goal of increasing cancer cure rates.
In Oxford, we have a great wealth of broad-ranging expertise and a powerful network of cancer researchers.
Study With Us
Our graduate and postdoctoral training programmes for both scientists and clinicians are internationally recognised.