Melanoma: Amid Caveats, New Test Shown to Improve Prediction of Risk of Metastasis and Survival

Oncology Times | June 30, 2015 | Mark Fuerst

SAN FRANCISCO–A new gene expression profile (GEP) test more accurately predicts the risk of metastasis and survival in patients with cutaneous melanoma compared with the standard predictive method currently used to guide patient management, researchers reported here at the American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting. With more testing, they and other experts said, it may allow oncologists to know which patients need early treatment to prevent disease progression.

“There is great variability in prognosis in stage 2 melanoma patients, and these patients benefit from increased surveillance or better treatment of early metastatic disease. The value of the GEP test to an oncologist is to know which patients to worry about, and to treat these patients more carefully,” the lead author, Laura Ferris, MD, PhD, Director of Clinical Trials in the Department of Dermatology and Associate Professor of Dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh, said in an interview.

“The ability to accurately predict the risk of metastasis and death among patients with cutaneous melanoma is of the utmost importance in guiding clinical decision making. Together with the previously published data, our study shows that the GEP test can help to identify high-risk patients.”

She presented the results of a study that showed that the noninvasive, 31-gene GEP test, DecisionDx-Melanoma, performed significantly better than the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Individualized Melanoma Patient Outcome Prediction Tool in predicting five-year distant metastasis-free and overall survival.

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