Cancer of unknown primary

Cancer of unknown primary refers to cancers where the original location of the disease cannot be located.

Australia's First Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP) Clinic was established at Peter Mac in February 2012. It is the first dedicated clinic in Australia to deal specifically with patients whose primary cannot be located. Previously such patients were spread through the hospital system depending on symptom presentation and estimates of where the primary might be – gastrointestinal, lung, etc. – or treated in general oncology clinics. As a consequence, people with CUP have sometimes felt lost within the medical system. The clinic will specifically see CUP patients and arrange for them to be systematically assessed, treated and referred for any appropriate clinical trials. Wherever possible patients' tumours will be assessed to determine if any personalised therapies could be future treatment options.

Medical oncologist A/Prof. Linda Mileshkin, who has a major interest in CUP, set up the clinic and now runs it with her team. Consults with surgical and radiation oncology specialists are arranged as needed.

The Cancer of Unknown Primary Service is a collaboration with clinical partners, providing coordinated and comprehensive cancer care. 


Related experts


Cancer of Unknown Primary Clinic, every Monday.

Clinical Trials

We have a strong focus on clinical trials to enable us to improve care for not only our patients but all patients with cancer of an unknown primary. Every cancer patient is at the heart of what we do. Dedicated to you, we commit and pursue state-of-the-art research that we take from bench to bedside and beyond.

If you are interested in joining a clinical trial, speak to your cancer specialist.

For a full list of clinical trials we offer, visit our looking for a clinical trial page.


For patients

We understand how stressful and difficult cancer can be.

Your Peter Mac team of experts are dedicated and sensitive to your individual health and wellbeing needs – we are here to help.

You will need a referral from your GP or medical practitioner to access this service.

Patients can be referred from within the hospital, from the rest of Victoria and from around Australia. All referrals should be addressed directly to A/Prof. Mileshkin as the specialist running the clinic.

For health professionals

Visit the referrals page for further information.