New Blood Biomarker Panel May Detect Melanoma Micro-Metastases

Mitchell S. Stark Senior Research Assistant/PhD Student Oncogenomics Group QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Herston, Brisbane, AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mitchell S. Stark
Senior Research Assistant/PhD Student
Oncogenomics Group
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Herston, Brisbane, Australia

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?
What are the main findings?

Response: Melanomas are among the most commonly occurring cancers with the number of new cases rising each year. Melanoma is currently is listed as the 4th and 6th most common cancer in Australia and the USA with >11,000 and >76,000 news diagnoses each year.  The overall 5-year survival for melanoma is 91%, which is largely due to curative surgery for early stage disease. However, cure rates are <15% if distant metastasis occurs (stage IV). We now have evidence that current therapeutic options for late stage disease are more effective if the disease is treated with a lower disease burden.  2010). Hence, melanoma must be treated in earlier stages to maximize the chances of patient survival. Therefore, the ability to identify signs of melanoma progression sooner would be a valuable clinical tool.

The use of melanoma progression markers have been used for many years however it is clear from the survival rates that melanoma must be detected before disease progresses thus highlighting that the current methods of progression detection are inadequate. We have identified a seven-microRNA panel (MELmiR-7) that has the ability to detect the presence of melanoma with high sensitivity and specificity which is superior to currently used markers for melanoma progression, recurrence, and survival. This panel may enable more precise measurement of disease progression and may herald an increase in overall survival.


Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: In a few years time melanoma could be monitored more precisely with this panel of microRNAs (miRNAs) as part of a patients routine follow-up to complement their CT and MRI scans. If the blood tests gives a positive result and the scans are negative, then this may indicate there is underlying micro-metastases present and the patient should therefore for monitored more frequently for signs of recurrence.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Given the current data presented in this study and with further validation in larger cohorts of patients, future melanoma treatment regimens should consider the utility of miRNAs as a prognostic aid in the clinical setting.

Citation:

The Prognostic and Predictive Value of Melanoma-related MicroRNAs Using Tissue and Serum: A MicroRNA Expression Analysis 

Mitchell S. Starka, b, , ,Kerenaftali Kleinc, d,Benjamin Weidee,Lauren E. Hayduf, g,Annette Pflugfeldere, h,Yue Hang Tangi,Jane M. Palmera,David C. Whitemanj,Richard A. Scolyerf, g,Graham J. Mannf, g,John F. Thompsonf, g,Georgina V. Longf, g,Andrew P. Barbouri,H. Peter Soyerh,Claus Garbee,Adrian Herington Pamela M. Pollock Nicholas K. Hayward EBioMedicine

Available online 12 May 2015

[wysija_form id=”3″]

 

Mitchell S. Stark, Senior Research Assistant/PhD Student, Oncogenomics Group, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, & Herston, Brisbane, Australia (2015). New Blood Biomarker Panel May Detect Melanoma Micro-Metastases