A study looking at why melanoma skin cancer comes back after surgery

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Skin cancer





The aim of this study is to find out if there are any lifestyle or genetic factors that affect the chance of melanoma coming back after treatment.

Doctors usually treat melanoma with surgery. They measure the depth of the melanoma and see what the cells look like under a microscope to decide whether the melanoma is likely to come back after surgery or not. The doctors class the melanoma as low, medium or high risk.

If the melanoma is low risk (less than 0.76mm thick) there is very little chance that the cancer will come back, so you are unlikely to have further treatment. If the melanoma is medium risk (between 0.76mm and 1.5mm thick) or high risk (more than 1.5mm thick) you may have treatment such as immunotherapy or chemotherapy after surgery.

In this study the research team will look at lifestyle factors and genes of people with medium risk melanoma, high risk melanoma or a rare melanoma, and people who have had a sentinel node biopsy. Please note that they are only currently recruiting people with a rare melanoma (see below for more information).

They are not testing a treatment for melanoma in this study.

Who can enter

You can enter this study if you

  • Were diagnosed with a rare melanoma after 7th April 2003 - a rare melanoma could be on the palm of your hand, sole of your foot, under a fingernail or toenail, in your ear, nose, throat or sinus, in your mouth or voicebox, in your perineum, penis, vagina, vulva, rectum or in your lymph nodes only
  • Are at least 18 years old

Trial design

This is an international study. It will recruit several thousand patients from the UK. If you decide to take part, you will fill in some questionnaires and have some blood samples taken.

The research team will ask you about

  • Your own and your family’s medical history
  • Sun exposure
  • Smoking, diet and alcohol intake
  • Stress
  • Significant life events, and how you dealt with them
  • Your support network
  • If you have had any problems with wound healing
  • Medicines you take now and have taken in the past
  • Infections you have had

You will answer some of these on paper and post the forms back to the research team. And you answer some over the phone.

The research team will take a blood sample so they can look at your genetic material (DNA). They will look at all the DNA samples to see if there are any common factors that may either increase or decrease the risk of melanoma coming back.

Hospital visits

You will go to the hospital or possibly to your GP surgery to have a blood test taken when you join the study and once a year for 5 years. Other than that you will not have to make any extra trips to the hospital as a result of taking part in this study.

You will fill in some questionnaires and post them back to the research team. And the team will phone you to ask you a few other questions. They will phone you once a year for several years to find out if anything has changed.

Side effects

There are no side effects associated with this study because there are no treatments. Your skin may bruise slightly after you have your blood sample taken.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Julia Newton Bishop

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 440

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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