Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.
A study looking at melanoma skin cancer cells in the bloodstream
Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.
This study is looking at whether doctors can find cancer cells in the bloodstream of patients with melanoma. Cancer spreads when cells break from the first cancer growth and travel through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to another part of the body. Cancer cells that are travelling in the bloodstream are called circulating tumour cells (CTCs). Scientists have known for a long time that cells do this, but until recently they have not been able to study them very easily.
In some cancers, it is possible to find and count circulating tumour cells. Researchers have found that the higher the number of CTCs, the poorer the outcome. And the more CTCS are reduced after treatment, the better the outcome.
Doctors want to see if counting CTCs will work for melanoma. They also want to look for features in these cells that may help them develop more suitable treatment. And learn more about how cancer cells spread. If successful, doctors may be able to use a simple blood test rather than a tissue sample (biopsy) to diagnose melanoma earlier, or find out what was happening with the cancer once diagnosed.
The main aim of this study is to count and study circulating cancer cells in people with melanoma that has spread to nearby
Who can enter
You cannot enter this study if
- You have already started treatment for your melanoma
- You have another cancer which may make it difficult for the doctors to pick out any circulating melanoma cells in your blood samples
This study will collect samples from 200 people. The samples you give for the study depend on your situation.
Everyone will give a blood sample (about 2 tablespoons) when they join the study.
If you have had a biopsy to diagnose your melanoma, the team will ask for permission to study a sample of this. If you have any other abnormal areas on your skin (lesions), the team will ask if they can take a biopsy of these too. You do not have to give these extra samples if you don’t want to. You can still take part in the study.
If you are having surgery for melanoma, you will give a sample of blood before and after this. And give the team permission to use a tissue sample from the operation for their research.
The team will ask for your permission to store these samples so they can use them both now and in the future for research into melanoma.
With your permission, the team will also gather some information from your medical notes. They will record information including about
- Your background, for example your date of birth, gender and ethnic background
- Your family history of cancer and any risk factors for melanoma
- Any other conditions you may have
- Blood test results
- Your cancer and it’s treatment
After the study, the team will check your notes regularly to see how you are getting on.
You will give blood and any tissue samples during hospital visits already planned as part of your treatment. So you will not need to make any extra visits to take part in this study.
If you agree to have the extra skin biopsies, these may be uncomfortable, and you may have a scar.
You may have a small bruise where you had your blood test.
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.
Dr Paul Lorigan
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
University of Manchester