About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia
LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

New Blood Test Can Measure Effectiveness of Aggressive Skin Cancer Treatments

by Adeline Dorcas on May 16, 2019 at 11:25 AM
Font : A-A+

New Blood Test Can Measure Effectiveness of Aggressive Skin Cancer Treatments

Effectiveness of aggressive skin cancer treatments can be tracked easily using a new blood test, reports a new study.

Blood tests that track the amount of tumor DNA can - after only one month of drug therapy - detect how well treatment is working in patients with skin cancer, a new study finds.

Advertisement


Led by researchers from NYU School of Medicine and Perlmutter Cancer Center, the study takes advantage of the nature of cancer cells, which die and are replaced by new cells continuously as part of aggressive cancer growth. Tumor cells burst as they die, spilling their DNA into the bloodstream, where it can be measured by tests, enabling improved diagnosis and better targeting of treatment based on each individual tumor's DNA.

For the new study, researchers traced circulating tumor DNA or ctDNA for the cancer gene BRAF, a gene that plays a key role in many melanomas, the most deadly form of skin cancer. In the United States, more than 7,200 individuals are expected to die from metastatic melanoma in 2019, with BRAF mutations playing a role in nearly half of such diagnoses, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Advertisement

"Our study offers firm evidence that tracking this genetic information may be helpful in identifying patients whose cancers shrink and who survive longer as a result of a particular drug regimen," says senior study investigator David Polsky, MD, PhD, the Alfred W. Kopf, MD, Professor of Dermatologic Oncology at NYU Langone Health.

For the study, being presented at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting at Chicago, researchers analyzed blood samples from 345 male and female patients with stage III or IV melanoma, which had already spread from the skin to other organs, and who had BRAF mutations.

These patients could not be treated surgically and were part of a larger group of patients participating in a clinical trial of the drugs dabrafenib and trametinib, designed to target BRAF-mutated cancers.

Among the study's key findings was that the tumor's BRAF mutation could be detected by the new blood test in 93 percent of the patients before treatment started. In addition, the research team found that BRAF ctDNA levels were no longer detectable after one month of therapy in the 40 percent of patients who had a positive clinical outcome after targeted therapy (as measured by an average survival time of 28 months). By contrast, the 60 percent of patients who did not respond as well still had detectable ctDNA levels, and survived for an average of just 14 months.

Polsky and his colleagues say this test appears to be more revealing than the current standard test, which measures lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), an enzyme often elevated by melanoma, because fluctuations in LDH often do not accurately predict treatment success or failure.

The typical method of identifying disease progression for these melanoma patients is through CT scans every three months, but Polsky says the blood test in the current study, noted as the largest BRAF detection rate in patients' blood to date, suggests it may be helpful to doctors because these tests can be done more frequently and efficiently, and results could be available within a few days.

"If further testing proves successful, monitoring blood samples for BRAF could give us an early indication of whether or not we need to adjust a patient's treatment plan," says Polsky, dermatologist, and director of the pigmented lesion service at NYU Langone.

The research team next plan to test the efficacy of monitoring patient blood samples over longer periods of time, such as several months. They also hope to open a clinical trial to determine whether treatment decisions based on these test results improve patient survival.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Emotional Healing
Psychosis Risk Related to Cat Parasite
Sedentary Behavior Precipitates Night-Time Hot Flashes
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Boils / Skin Abscess Thalassemia Skin Cancer Cancer and Homeopathy Ultra-Violet Radiation Undescended Testicles Cancer Facts Pityriasis rosea Cancer Tattoos A Body Art 

Recommended Reading
Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells. It can develop due to a continuous exposure to sun ...
More Men Than Women Die Due to Skin Cancer: Study
Melanoma (skin cancer) death rates are rising in men while for women it remains static or declines, ...
Bariatric Surgery May Reduce Skin Cancer Risk
Bariatric surgery is a weight loss surgery which can reduce skin cancer risk. Obesity is a melanoma ...
Simple Blood Test can now Predict Skin Cancer's Return
Presence of Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in the skin cancer patients' blood can help predict ......
Boils / Skin Abscess
Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general info about Boils / Skin Abscess ...
Pityriasis Rosea
Pityriasis rosea is a common skin disease that is not contagious. It manifests as oval-shaped, pink ...
Tattoos A Body Art
Tattoos are a rage among college students who sport it for the ‘cool dude’ or ‘cool babe’ look...
Thalassemia
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder passed on through parental genes causing the body to prod...
Ultra-Violet Radiation
Ultraviolet radiations are electromagnetic radiations with wavelengths shorter than the shortest wav...
Undescended Testicles
An undescended testicle / testis is one that has not descended into the scrotal sac before birth. It...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use