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IntroductionMalignant pleural effusion (MPE) is common, with 50 000 new cases per year in the UK. MPE causes disabling breathlessness and indicates advanced disease with a poor prognosis. Treatment approaches focus on symptom relief and optimising quality of life (QoL). Patients who newly present with MPE commonly require procedural intervention for both diagnosis and therapeutic benefit.Thoracoscopic pleural biopsies are highly sensitive in diagnosing pleural malignancy. Talc poudrage may be delivered at thoracoscopy (TTP) to prevent effusion recurrence by effecting pleurodesis. Indwelling pleural catheters (IPCs) offer an alternative strategy for fluid control, enabling outpatient management and are often used as 'rescue' therapy following pleurodesis failure or in cases of 'trapped lung'. It is unknown whether combining a TTP with IPC insertion will improve patient symptoms or reduce time spent in the hospital.The randomised thoracoscopic talc poudrage + indwelling pleural catheters versus thoracoscopic talc poudrage only in malignant pleural effusion trial (TACTIC) is the first randomised controlled trial (RCT) to examine the benefit of a combined TTP and IPC procedure, evaluating cost-effectiveness and patient-centred outcomes such as symptoms and QoL. The study remains in active recruitment and has the potential to radically transform the pathway for all patients presenting with MPE.Methods and analysisTACTIC is an unblinded, multicentre, RCT comparing the combination of TTP with an IPC to TTP alone. Co-primary outcomes are time spent in the hospital and mean breathlessness score over 4 weeks postprocedure. The study will recruit 124 patients and aims to define the optimal pathway for patients presenting with symptomatic MPE.Ethics and disseminationTACTIC is sponsored by North Bristol NHS Trust and has been granted ethical approval by the London-Brent Research Ethics Committee (REC ref: 21/LO/0495). Publication of results in a peer-reviewed journal and conference presentations are anticipated.Trial registrationISRCTN 11058680.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ open respiratory research

Publication Date





Academic Respiratory Unit, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK