Scientists have developed two new gene-based blood tests that can quickly and reliably detect previously unidentifiable forms of skin cancer. Researchers at New York University in the US carried out genetic testing of tumour and blood fluid samples from people with and without one of the most aggressive forms of skin cancer.
Having quick and accurate monitoring tools for all types of metastatic melanoma may make it easier for physicians to detect early signs of cancer recurrence, they said.
The new blood tests, which take only 48 hours, are the first to identify melanoma DNA in the blood of patients whose cancer is spreading and who lack defects in either the BRAF or NRAS genes, already known to drive cancer growth.
“Our goal is to use these tests to make more informed treatment decisions and, specifically, to identify as early as possible when a treatment has stopped working, cancer growth has resumed, and the patient needs to switch therapy,” said senior study investigator David Polsky.