A trial looking at bevacizumab after surgery for melanoma skin cancer (AVAST-M)

Cancer type:

Skin cancer




Phase 3

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 recurrence Open a glossary item.

This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.

More about this trial

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.

Bevacizumab (also known as Avastin) is a type of biological therapy called a monoclonal antibody. It seeks out and blocks a particular protein which is needed for the cancer cell to grow.

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.

This was a phase 3 trial. It recruited 1,343 people. It was a randomised trial.

  • 671 people had bevacizumab
  • 672 people didn't have bevacizumab but had regular check ups

After a minimum of 5 years of follow up the team looked at how many people were still alive. 

  • 420 people had bevacizumab   
  • 418 people didn't have bevacizumab 

They also looked at the percentage of people who were free of cancer. 

  • 51 out of every 100 people (51%) had bevacizumab 
  • 45 out of every 100 people (45%) didn't have bevacizumab 

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. But didn't increase the amount of time they lived after surgery.

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 (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) but may not have been published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

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

Dr Pippa Corrie

Supported by

Cambridge Cancer Trials Centre
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre
Warwick Medical School Clinical Trials Unit

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/06/014.

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.

Wendy took part in a new trial studying the possible side effect of hearing loss

A picture of Wendy

"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”

Last reviewed:

Rate this page:

Currently rated: 4 out of 5 based on 1 vote
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think