Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.
A trial looking at bevacizumab after surgery for melanoma skin cancer (AVAST-M)
This trial looked at whether bevacizumab after surgery helped people live longer, or stopped melanoma coming back, in people who were at high risk of
Doctors usually treat melanoma skin cancer with surgery. After this, you have regular check ups because there is a risk that the melanoma may come back. So far, there is no strong research evidence to show that having any treatment after surgery helped people live longer. So having regular check ups by surgeons is the standard treatment.
Doctors already use bevacizumab to treat a number of other advanced cancers. But it wasn't known whether it would help stop melanoma coming back after surgery.
The aims of this trial were to
- Find out if bevacizumab after surgery could help people with melanoma live longer, or delay melanoma from coming back for longer
- Learn more about the side effects
- Find out if there were ways to predict who would benefit most from bevacizumab
Summary of results
The trial team found that bevacizumab increased the amount of time it took for melanoma to come back after surgery.
- 671 people had bevacizumab
- 672 people didn't have bevacizumab but had regular check ups
After an average follow up of just over 2 years the researchers looked at the number of people whose melanoma had come back. They found that
- The melanoma came back in 263 people treated with bevacizumab
- The melanoma came back in 298 people who didn’t have bevacizumab
So far, there is no difference between how long the 2 groups of people lived, but it is too early to know this for sure. After this initial analysis, the trial team will continue to follow up all the people in the trial, to find out if there is a difference in how long people lived 5 years after surgery.
15 out of every 100 people (15%) who had bevacizumab had moderate to severe side effects. There was also an increased risk of high blood pressure.
The trial team concluded that bevacizumab did improve the amount of time people were free of melanoma after surgery. They are continuing to look for substances in the blood (
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
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 Pippa Corrie
Cambridge Cancer Trials Centre
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Oxford Biomedical Research Centre
Warwick Medical School Clinical Trials Unit
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/06/014.