Blood test predicts skin cancer spread
Sun, 17 Apr 2011 12:09:04 GMT
High blood levels of seven proteins can predict the spread of melanoma, the most invasive and the deadliest form of skin cancer, a new study says.
After measuring the blood levels of these proteins in 108 people with metastatic melanoma and 108 others with stage 1 or 2 of the disease, which have no spread to other organs, the US scientists realized that patients with metastatic melanoma had higher levels of these biomarkers.
Researchers at the Yale Cancer Center and Yale School of Medicine found that the blood levels of CEACAM, ICAM-1, osteopontin, MIA, GDF-15, TIMP-1 and S100B were significantly higher in the blood of 83 percent of people whose melanoma had spread to other organs.
In addition, elevated levels of the proteins were not seen in the blood of 76 percent of patients with early-stage melanoma, the scientists wrote in Clinical Cancer Research.
The considerable difference between the two groups convinced the scientists that these newly found biomarkers can be used as a clinical test to evaluate the risk of developing metastatic melanoma in the sufferers.
Being able to use a blood test to predict the risk of metastasis in melanoma patients would be cheaper than the current monitoring methods, which includes a combination of periodic imaging tests, physical examinations and blood exams, the researchers said.
“Biomarkers would complement the other methods and might enable us, for example, to increase the interval between scans,” said Harriet Kruger, lead author and an associate professor of medicine at Yale. “There is no radiation with biomarkers as there is with scans, and they can potentially be more cost-effective.”
However, "this finding will need to be confirmed prospectively before it is used in the clinic, but it shows that such testing is possible," she added.