A new study shows that molecular analysis of a very small tissue sample can identify hidden melanoma metastases in lymph nodes. The presence of melanoma in the lymph nodes is the single most important factor in determining a patients prognosis and is a key factor in determining a patients course of treatment.
Published in the October 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the study is the first to use such a thin section of archival paraffin-embedded tissue and show that a specific set of molecular characteristics indicates the presence of melanoma in the lymph nodes – even among patients whose lymph nodes appear cancer-free using standard techniques. By using a small tissue section, pathologists spare more of the whole specimen, which is needed for additional pathology tests.
"Our findings show that by performing molecular analysis on a very small piece of tissue, we can quickly and accurately identify previously undetectable metastases, and provide a more accurate prognosis for patients," said Dr. Dave S.B. Hoon, director of the Department of Molecular Oncology at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California, and senior author of the study. "Providing a more accurate prognosis can inform decisions on when and how to treat patients, and could ultimately improve our ability to care for patients with melanoma."
Carrie Housman | EurekAlert!
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