Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial looking at vaccine treatment after surgery for melanoma skin cancer (EORTC 18961)
This trial looked at 2 vaccines to see if they could help stop melanoma coming back after surgery.
Melanoma is usually treated with surgery. But for some people, there is a risk that the melanoma will come back. Doctors are always looking at new treatments to try to prevent this.
One new treatment is a cancer vaccine. Cancer vaccine research is still in its early stages. But they have shown some promise as a possible new treatment. Vaccines may help the immune system kill cancer cells.
The aim of this trial was to find out if giving 2 vaccines after surgery could help stop the melanoma coming back. The vaccines were called GM2-KLH and QS21.
Summary of results
The trial team found that the vaccines GM2-KLH and QS21 did not stop melanoma coming back after surgery.
This trial recruited 1,314 people. There were 2 groups those who
- Had the vaccines
- Did not
After an average follow up of just under 2 years the researchers found that more people were living in the group that did not have the vaccines. And that melanoma spread occurred in more people who had the vaccines.
At the start of each trial a data monitoring committee (DMC) is set up to look at the safety of the trial and to check how it is going.
Based on the recommendations of the DMC, the trial team stopped giving the vaccines to people in this trial.
The trial team concluded that the vaccines could not stop melanoma coming back after surgery. And that it may be harmful to give to some people who have had melanoma.
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.
Professor Angus Dalgleish
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer