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 interferon after surgery for high risk melanoma skin cancer (AIM HIGH)
This trial looked to see if interferon could help stop melanoma from coming back after an operation to remove it.
Doctors usually treat melanoma with surgery. After this, patients have regular check ups because there is a chance that the cancer can come back. People with stage 2 or 3 melanoma have a higher risk of their cancer coming back. In this trial, doctors compared interferon with no further treatment for this group of patients.
The aim of this trial was to find
- If interferon after surgery stops melanoma coming back
- More about the side effects of interferon
Summary of results
The researchers found that interferon did not reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. It was no better than having no further treatment after surgery.
This trial recruited 674 patients with high risk melanoma. Half the people had interferon and the other half did not (the
When they did their analysis in 2002, the researchers found that cancer had come back in
- 211 patients who had interferon
- 215 patients in the control group.
The most common side effect of interferon was tiredness (fatigue). About 1 in 7 people having interferon decided to stop treatment because of side effects.
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 Barry Hancock