New Test to Predict Primary Melanoma Progression
21 January 2020
Australian researchers have played a critical role in the discovery of a potential new test to predict which early stage melanoma patients are at high risk of their disease recurring and progressing.
A joint study led by researchers from Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, Harvard Medical School, Sydney Local Health District and Adaptive Biotechnology analysed immune cells (known as T-cells) in primary melanoma samples taken from 209 patients, 164 of whom came from MIA.
The study, published today in Nature Cancer, found that patients with a T-cell fraction (TCFr) of less than 20% in their primary melanoma were two-and-a-half times more likely to have disease progression than those with more than 20% TCFr.
The study was jointly led by Dr James Wilmott and Co-Medical Director Professor Richard Scolyer from Melanoma Institute Australia and researchers from Harvard Medical School.
‘These findings suggest analysing TCFr in primary melanomas is a valuable tool for predicting which patients are at risk of developing metastatic melanoma, ’ Dr Wilmott said.
‘This could enable us to personalise treatment for each patient based on their individual risk of recurrence and progression, and potentially target them earlier with immunotherapy,’ Professor Scolyer added.
Australia has one of the highest melanoma rates in the world, with one person diagnosed every 30 minutes and one person dying every five hours from disease.
While 90% of early stage melanomas are cured with surgery alone, a subset of patients will recur metastatically within five years.
Recent advances in targeted and immunotherapies have significantly improved outcomes for Stage IV melanoma patients. However, the management of primary melanoma has remained relatively unchanged, with prognosis based principally on histopathological factors such as tumour thickness and ulceration.
‘This test offers the ability to identify primary melanoma patients at high risk of developing metastatic disease at their initial diagnosis,’ Dr Wilmott said. ‘These patients may benefit from close monitoring or the addition of adjuvant treatments to prevent their disease progressing.’
Five years ago Julie Randall was diagnosed with melanoma and was given months to live. The melanoma had spread throughout her body. The doctors said it was incurable and she’d be lucky if she survived the next nine months. Julie, a patient at Melanoma Institute Australia under Professor Georgina Long was placed on an experimental drug trial. To watch the entire program, visit 9now.com or click here.
Meet our latest Surgical Oncology Fellow, Eva Nagy, to find out more about life as a surgical oncologist, why she came to MIA and what she hopes to achieve.
Melanoma research at ASCO this year focussed on the more precise use of current treatments to ensure optimal treatment for each patient.
MIA recently demonstrated that reflectance confocal microscopy is a useful tool in the clinic to diagnose suspicious-looking lesions in the mouth.
New research is likely to change the way melanoma is managed in many patients by reducing the need for major surgery and its associated morbidity and cost.
Researchers from MIA will present their latest research findings to the world’s largest oncology conference in early June.
Australian researchers pioneer life-extending treatment for advanced melanoma patients with brain tumours
Australian researchers are the first to demonstrate that patients with advanced melanoma which has spread to the brain can have increased life expectancy and possibly even beat the disease.
Melanoma March 2017 - that's a wrap! Thank you to everyone that helped make it happen.
Thank you so much to all those who contributed in a variety of ways to Melanoma March 2017 in 17 different locations and more around the country! You have contributed to getting the Big Data for Melanoma national Research Project happening!
By looking at the ‘dark matter’ of the genome, new research has found that genetic changes in acral and mucosal melanoma are completely different to mutations found in skin melanoma.
‘Slip, slop, slap’ is synonymous with being Australian and playing it safe in the sun. These sun smart rules reduce our chances of getting melanoma of the skin. However, new research tells a different story for those affected by rarer forms of melanoma.
Using MIA's patient database, researchers have developed conditional survival estimates for Stage III melanoma patients to more accurately predict survival outcomes.
MIA is proud to be celebrating an important milestone – the 60th anniversary of melanoma research and Australian-led global efforts to find a cure.
Research achievements by MIA were celebrated at the annual Sydney Medical School recently.
In this Global Research Report we showcase advances in medical oncology, reveal unexpected pathology in acral and skin melanoma, and uncover biomarkers and new gene targets for melanoma.
Professor’s Long and Scolyer are well known in the academic community and beloved by their patients. But we wanted to get to know our new Conjoint Medical Directors a little more and hear their plans on making an impact on melanoma.
Wyong Rugby League Club Group has joined forces with Melanoma Institute Australia to help end melanoma for future generations.
Melanoma research has reached a milestone with the 10,000th patient giving their permission for their blood and tissue samples to be used in the world’s largest melanoma biospecimen bank.
MIA's researchers and clinicians are in Seattle, USA, today sharing their research findings at the prestigious Society of Surgical Oncology’s Annual Cancer Symposium.