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.’
Australia is the first country in the world to register anti-PD1 for the first line treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma in adults.
We have a winner!
Professor John Thompson, Executive Director at Melanoma Institute Australia, was one of 116 fellows appointed to the new Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences at a ceremony in Canberra on the 25th March.
Federal Minister for Health, the Hon. Sussan Ley, announced more than $14 million in funding for a research program to study the molecular determinants of risk, progression and treatment response in melanoma.
If you would like to download a bib for your Melanoma March, we have a selection for you to choose from, print and bring along with you on the day.
Manly Melanoma March has changed to a new location.
We did a short Q&A with two sisters who are raising funds for Melanoma March after sadly losing their mother in 2009. This is their second march and they have shared with us their fundraising tips.
We want to share with you what your valuable Melanoma March donation and fundraising goes towards and our Research Director, Graham Mann explains the national research project the funds will be going towards.
Evaluation of Groin Lymphadenectomy Extent for Metastatic Melanoma (EAGLE FM) clinical trial has recruited its first patient.
You are invited to provide comments for consideration by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC). The PBAC will consider the registration of the anti-PD1 drug, Keytruda (pembrolizumab) at the next meeting in March.
Melanoma patient Joel Allsop was congratulated today on completing his participation in the international surgical clinical trial, known as MSLT-II. He was the first person in the world to complete the 10 years of follow-up for this trial.
Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) has officially launched the 2015 ‘Melanoma March’ initiative in Melbourne.
Help us march towards a cure for melanoma research. See where your local march is and how you can get involved.
Under the leadership of world-leading melanoma pathologist Prof Richard Scolyer and medical oncologist A/Prof Georgina Long, third year PhD student, Hojabr Kakavand, is at the forefront of melanoma research.
Melanoma Institute Australia has launched a new smartphone app called ClinTrial Refer Melanoma to help busy clinicians find clinical trials for their melanoma patients.
MIA's Associate Professor Georgina Long and stage 4 melanoma patient, Maria, were recently interviewed by ABC Weekend Breakfast about the latest in clincial trials and melanoma treatments.
Sunbed campaigner, Jay Allen, has been acknowledged on the honour roll of Australia’s most influential people in the non-profit sector.
Today we launch the website we’ve dreamed about!
Our new summer campaign has you and your mates' backs covered!