In January 2018, when José was 43, he had a cancerous mole removed from his chest. At that time, José was relieved to hear that it hadn’t spread. But 3 years later, in 2021, he noticed a lump in his armpit, which turned out to be a swollen lymph node. Doctors discovered the cancer had spread widely including a 5cm tumour in his right lung. José was devastated to learn he had Stage 4 melanoma.

As doctors could detect cancer DNA in José's blood, they referred him to The Christie for a clinical trial funded by The Christie Charity, called CAcTUS – a blood test in melanoma. CAcTUS aims to help determine which treatment to start with, and when to switch. It used 2 different types of treatments in sequence to attack the melanoma in 2 different ways.

First, targeted therapy interfered with how cancer cells grow and survive. Second, immunotherapy helped the immune system ‘see’ the melanoma and attack it.

After 12 months, scans showed José was responding, and today he has no signs of active cancer.

“Thanks to CAcTUS, José now has a very good chance that the melanoma will not come back.

We now know we can use this blood test in patients as a tool to guide treatment, which will be important in developing personal treatments in the future.

Dr Rebecca Lee, José’s consultant

Kind gifts from Christie Charity supporters have already helped clinicians make ground-breaking cancer discoveries. Donate to our clear appeal today and you can help fund the research to bring the next breakthrough into reality.

A photo of Christie patient José Sotorrio.