A study using ultrasound to examine lymph glands after having melanoma removed (SUNMEL)

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

Cancer type:

Skin cancer





This is a study using an ultrasound scan to examine lymph glands around the area where a melanoma has been removed.

After having your melanoma removed, doctors will examine the lymph glands Open a glossary item nearest to where your melanoma was, to make sure the cancer has not spread. They feel the lymph glands to see if they have become larger, or feel different. If they feel different, this could mean that melanoma has spread to these glands.

They may also remove the nearest lymph node to see if the melanoma has spread there. The nearest lymph node is called the sentinel node. Finding and removing the sentinel node is called sentinel node biopsy.

Doctors are always looking for better ways of finding out if melanoma has spread to the lymph glands.

The ultrasound scan uses sound waves to look for changes in lymph glands. This involves putting some jelly on the skin over the lymph glands and passing a small device over the skin. The device sends out sound waves and receives them back. The sound waves bounce off the lymph glands and build up a picture of them on a screen.

The aim of this study is to find out if having regular ultrasound scans can pick up changes in lymph glands before they can be felt by hand.

Who can enter

You can enter this trial if

  • You have melanoma of the skin - this is called cutaneous melanoma
  • Your melanoma is between 1.2 mm and 3.5 mm thick - your doctor can explain this
  • You have had your melanoma removed in the last 8 weeks
  • You need to have more tissue removed from the area where your melanoma was (this is called a wide local excision) and this is to be done in the next 4 weeks at The Royal Marsden Hospital
  • You are at least 18 years old

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Have melanoma that has spread to another part of your body
  • Are not fit enough to have surgery to remove your lymph glands (this may become necessary later if cancer cells are found) – your doctor can advise about this
  • Have had another cancer in the last 5 years, except squamous cell skin cancer, carcinoma insitu of the cervix or basal cell skin cancer that has been successfully treated or is planned to treated

Trial design

This study will recruit 90 people from The Royal Marsden Hospital. Everyone taking part in this study will have an ultrasound of lymph glands in the area where the doctor removed their melanoma.

If any lymph glands look different from normal on the ultrasound, and this may be caused by melanoma, the doctor will use a small needle to take a sample of cells from the affected lymph node. This is called a fine needle aspiration (FNA) Open a glossary item. The doctor sends this sample to the laboratory where it is examined for melanoma cells.

If your melanoma has spread you will have surgery to remove the lymph glands.

If you decide to take part in this study the researchers will ask your permission for blood samples. These will be stored safely and may be used in the future for research purposes only.

If you don’t want to give permission for these samples, you don’t have to. You can still take part in the study.

Hospital visits

There are no extra visits as a result of taking part in this study. You have the ultrasound on the same day you see your doctor and this takes about 10 minutes.

Side effects

There are no side effects from taking part in this study, apart from a possible slight bruising from where you have the blood test and cell sample taken from your lymph nodes.

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

Prof J Meirion Thomas

Supported by

The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 5249

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

Wendy took part in a new trial studying the possible side effect of hearing loss

A picture of Wendy

"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”

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