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.’
Two of the world’s best minds in melanoma have taken over the academic and clinical leadership of Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA). Professor Georgina Long and Professor Richard Scolyer are the new Conjoint Medical Directors of MIA, and are shaping the future direction of melanoma research, treatment and education.
Meet Georgia, our Clinica Nurse Consultant who provides vital care and education for patients throughout their treatment.
Australia, we need to talk. This week’s dramatic episodes of Married At First Sight have highlighted a tragedy which is ripping Australian families apart. Yet no one is talking about it.
To celebrate International Women's Day 2017, MIA shares how some of the women who inspire the way we work every day, are showing their commitment to accelerate gender parity.
We welcome Mr Grant King to the position of Chairman of the Board of Melanoma Institute Australia, following the retirement of Mr Reg Richardson AM who led the organisation for 10 years.
Congratulations to PhD Student, Tuba Nur Gide who was awarded a NSW National Council of Women Australia Day Award for her PhD research work.
Melanoma Institute Australia, is joining forces with the Wollongong Wolves Football Club in the battle to reduce Australia’s melanoma rates.
A new research project will evaluate the benefits and economic implications of CT and PET/CT imaging in patients with asymptomatic Stage III melanoma.
Sunscreen tips for a skin smart summer with the help of Professor Pascale Guitera, Dermatologist Associate for Melanoma Institute Australia.
Although survival rates for people with skin melanoma are increasing, these promises of hope are not being seen in uveal melanoma. Researchers are desperately trying to uncover new ways to treat this disease.
Lucinda Ryan and Carole Renouf talking about melanoma preventation and awareness on 720 ABC Perth.
Research projects led by MIA have been awarded almost $6 million in the latest NHMRC funding round which will enable vital progression of research into melanoma prevention and treatment.
The last decade has seen a surge in therapeutic options for advanced melanoma patients, thanks to research. However, not every patient responds to treatment and researchers are taking on the challenge to find out why.
Our first Global Melanoma Research Report shares selected research from around the world and here at MIA that is making a difference to the lives of melanoma patients now and in the future.
After 18 years as Director of the Sydney Melanoma Unit and then Executive Director of Melanoma Institute Australia, Professor John Thompson AO will step down from the position at the end of 2016.
Australian melanoma clinical practice guidelines have been published on a wiki platform for the first time as researchers try to keep up to date with emerging evidence.
Carole Renouf, CEO of Melanoma Institute Australia is asking young Australians who have been affected by melanoma to share their experiences with her.
Melanoma Institute Australia CEO Carole Renouf wants to make sure Aussies remember to take care of our skin as the festive season draws closer and we spend more time in the sun.
Can an individual’s risk factors for melanoma be used to tailor skin self-examinations and surveillance programs?
Prof Georgina Long has been appointed President-Elect Society for Melanoma Research (SMR).