Can patient-led surveillance detect subsequent new primary or recurrent melanomas and reduce the need for routinely scheduled follow-up? A protocol for the MEL-SELF randomised controlled trial

Deonna M. Ackermann, Amelia K. Smit, Monika Janda, Cathelijne H. van Kemenade, Mbathio Dieng, Rachael L. Morton, Robin M. Turner, Anne E. Cust, Les Irwig, Jolyn K. Hersch, Pascale Guitera, H. Peter Soyer, Victoria Mar, Robyn P.M. Saw, Donald Low, Cynthia Low, Dorothy Drabarek, David Espinoza, Jon Emery, Peter MurchieJohn F. Thompson, Richard A. Scolyer, Anthony Azzi, Alister Lilleyman, Katy J.L. Bell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Most subsequent new primary or recurrent melanomas might be self-detected if patients are trained to systematically self-examine their skin and have access to timely medical review (patient-led surveillance). Routinely scheduled clinic visits (clinician-led surveillance) is resource-intensive and has not been shown to improve health outcomes; fewer visits may be possible if patient-led surveillance is shown to be safe and effective. The MEL-SELF trial is a randomised controlled trial comparing patient-led surveillance with clinician-led surveillance in people who have been previously treated for localised melanoma. Methods: Stage 0/I/II melanoma patients (n = 600) from dermatology, surgical, or general practice clinics in NSW Australia, will be randomised (1:1) to the intervention (patient-led surveillance, n = 300) or control (usual care, n = 300). Patients in the intervention will undergo a second randomisation 1:1 to polarised (n = 150) or non-polarised (n = 150) dermatoscope. Patient-led surveillance comprises an educational booklet, skin self-examination (SSE) instructional videos; 3-monthly email/SMS reminders to perform SSE; patient-performed dermoscopy with teledermatologist feedback; clinical review of positive teledermoscopy through fast-tracked unscheduled clinic visits; and routinely scheduled clinic visits following each clinician’s usual practice. Clinician-led surveillance comprises an educational booklet and routinely scheduled clinic visits following each clinician’s usual practice. The primary outcome, measured at 12 months, is the proportion of participants diagnosed with a subsequent new primary or recurrent melanoma at an unscheduled clinic visit. Secondary outcomes include time from randomisation to diagnosis (of a subsequent new primary or recurrent melanoma and of a new keratinocyte cancer), clinicopathological characteristics of subsequent new primary or recurrent melanomas (including AJCC stage), psychological outcomes, and healthcare use. A nested qualitative study will include interviews with patients and clinicians, and a costing study we will compare costs from a societal perspective. We will compare the technical performance of two different models of dermatoscope (polarised vs non-polarised). Discussion: The findings from this study may inform guidance on evidence-based follow-up care, that maximises early detection of subsequent new primary or recurrent melanoma and patient wellbeing, while minimising costs to patients, health systems, and society. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12621000176864. Registered on 18 February 2021.

Original languageEnglish
Article number324
Number of pages18
JournalTrials
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2021

Keywords

  • Cancer surveillance
  • Early detection of cancer
  • Health services research
  • Melanoma
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Self-examination
  • Teledermoscopy
  • Telehealth

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