A study looking at different dressings after surgery for soft tissue sarcoma (SUNstudy)

Cancer type:

Soft tissue sarcoma




Phase 2

This trial compared 2 dressings to cover wounds after surgery. It was for people who had an operation to remove soft tissue sarcoma at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary hospital.

The trial was open for people to join between 2016 and 2020. The team published the results in 2021.

More about this trial

Surgery is one of the main treatments for soft tissue sarcoma. After removing the cancer, the surgeon closes the wound with stitches and covers it with a dressing.

When this trial was done, some surgeons used a standard absorbent dressing to cover the wound. Others used a dressing attached to a small vacuum pump. This is called a negative pressure dressing.

The research team wanted to find out which type of dressing is better at preventing problems such as infection. 

The main aim of this trial was to find out which dressing is best to use after surgery to remove soft tissue sarcoma.

Summary of results

Trial design
This trial was for people due to have an operation to remove an area of soft tissue sarcoma. They were put into 1 of 2 treatment groups at random.

Doctors used standard absorbent dressings for people in one group. And negative pressure dressings for people in the other group. The research team looked at the number of people in each group who developed an infection after the operation.

A total of 17 people joined this study. This is fewer than the research team were hoping. This was due to changes in the department where the trial was taking place.

The people taking part were put into 1 of 2 groups:

  • 7 had their wound dressed with a standard absorbent dressing
  • 10 had their wound dressed with a negative pressure dressing

The research team looked at the number of people who had a wound infection within 30 days of their operation. They found it was it was similar in the two groups:

  • 2 out of 7 people (29%) who had the standard absorbent dressing
  • 2 out of 10 people (20%) who had the negative pressure dressing

There is a small difference between the two groups. But it is too small to know whether it is due the difference in the wound dressings or not. It could be due to chance.

The research team concluded that it would be useful to do larger study to compare these two types of dressings. They hope that will help them decide how useful negative pressure dressings are for people having surgery for soft tissue sarcoma.

More detailed information
There is more information about this research in the reference below. 

Please note, this article is not in plain English. It has been written for health care professionals and researchers.

Closed incision negative pressure wound therapy versus conventional dressings following soft-tissue sarcoma excision: a prospective, randomized controlled trial
D Shields and others
Bone and Joint, 2021. Volume 2, Number 12.

Where this information comes from    
We have based this summary on the information in the article above. This has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. We have not analysed the data ourselves. As far as we are aware, the link we list above is active and the article is free and available to view.

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

Mr Ashish Mahendra

Supported by

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Other information

You can read more information about this study on the following website: https://www.sunstudy.co.uk/

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


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

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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