A trial looking at interferon after surgery for high risk melanoma skin cancer (AIM HIGH)

Cancer type:

Skin cancer




Phase 3

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 control group Open a glossary item).

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 (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and 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

Professor Barry Hancock

Supported by


Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 66

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

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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