Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.
A study to investigate the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma skin cancer with sentinel lymph node biopsy
This study was comparing 2 different ways of treating people with melanoma with cancer in their sentinel nodes.
Melanoma is normally treated with surgery. For some people, there is a risk that the melanoma has spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system. The first lymph node that cancer cells in lymphatic fluid reach is known as the sentinel node.
A sentinel lymph node biospy is an operation to remove the sentinel node and check it for cancer cells.
There are two different ways of treating patients with cancer in their sentinel nodes. The first is to remove all of the lymph nodes in the affected area. But unfortunately removing all the lymph nodes can lead to side effects such as
The second way is to keep a close eye on these patients and not to operate straight away. This is because research has shown that most people with a positive sentinel node will not have cancer elsewhere. If necessary, the doctors will carry out more surgery, if the melanoma shows up in other lymph nodes later.
This trial was a ‘feasibility study’. This means that the researchers were carrying out a small study to see if it would be possible to then carry out a similar study on a larger scale. The aim was to see if patients were willing to take part in trials of this nature and have one of these 2 treatments allocated to them.
Summary of results
This study was looking at whether it would be possible to carry out a larger trial. We have contacted the trial team who tell us they don't expect to be making results available for this trial.
How to join a clinical trial
Prof Tim Eisen
Cancer Research UK
National Health Service (NHS)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/02/019.