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TORPEdO: A trial of proton beam radiotherapy for oropharyngeal cancer

In follow-up


What is the study about?

TORPEdO is investigating whether a new type of radiotherapy called proton beam therapy can lessen side effects of throat cancer treatment.

Throat cancer is normally treated with radiotherapy. This is carefully targeted at the cancer but it can cause side effects, including difficulties with swallowing. This is because important parts of the mouth and throat can be damaged by radiation exposure, despite the radiotherapy being focused on the cancer. Proton beam therapy can be targeted even more precisely than standard radiotherapy, reducing the amount of radiation the area around the cancer receives.

TORPEdO will assess whether proton beam therapy improves participants’ quality of life and reduces the need for treatment for swallowing issues in comparison to standard radiotherapy 

Who is included in the study?

TORPEdO includes people who have cancer affecting the top part of the throat, which includes the tonsils and back of the tongue (an area called the oropharynx). 183 participants will be enrolled from NHS hospitals across the UK.

What are the study treatments?

  • One third of participants will have standard targeted radiotherapy given over six and a half weeks at their local NHS radiotherapy hospital.
  • Two thirds of participants will have proton beam therapy given over six and a half weeks at one of the UK’s two NHS proton centres in Manchester or London.

Participants will have regular check ups during and after their treatment and we will collect information about how they are getting on until the study is completed.

Further information for participants

Patient Information Sheet


A detailed summary is available on Cancer Research UK's website

Introduction video

Q&A video

Further information for healthcare professionals

TORPEdO trial protocol

Clinical trials

Division of Clinical Studies

The division carries out or coordinates high-quality trials and translational research at both an early phase – typically to test new targeted drugs – and a later stage.