A Quantitative Method To Identify Malignant Melanoma And Assess Its Risks Of Metastasis

Technology #2012-110

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Researchers
Alexander Meves M.D., Ph.D.
Ekaterina M. Nikolova Ph.D.
Managed By
Pete A. Ball
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Currently, cancerous pigmented lesions, i.e. malignant melanoma, are diagnosed based on morphological features such as cell size and the overall architecture of the lesion under a microscope. Risk of metastasis is primarily assessed by the depth of invasion of morphologically atypical cells into the skin (so-called Breslow depth), which can be misleading and often triggers unnecessary invasive staging procedures. We are first to develop a novel method that allows for the identification of mealanoma with high risk of metastasis, based on absolute quantification (copy number) of mRNA that encodes for proteins with important function during metastasis. Our test can be performed on formal-fixed, paraffin-embedded biospecimens, which are routinely obtained in clinical practice. It can help guide pathologists when in doubt about the malignant nature of morphologically atypical lesions such as Spitz nevi. It may also be used to assess the need for additional invasive diagnostic work-up or adjuvant therapy.