5 Minutes With Prof Richard Scolyer

5 Minutes With Prof Richard Scolyer

21 October 2016

World-leading melanoma pathologist, Professor Richard Scolyer from Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA), will be sharing his expertise on melanoma pathology at the 2016 Australasian Melanoma Conference. He discusses what he’ll be presenting on during the conference.

The Australian Melanoma Genome Project is the largest melanoma research effort ever undertaken in Australia. Data has just started being published and revealed some interesting findings that you’ll discuss in your presentation entitled “Genomic studies in melanoma”.

That’s right. This study has analysed a large number of melanomas using deep whole genome sequencing and has revealed marked differences in the molecular profiles of acral and mucosal melanomas (those involving the palms, soles and nail bed regions as well as those involving the inner linings of the body such as the nasal cavity, rectum and genital regions) compared with cutaneous (other skin) melanomas.

How will this research make a difference to patients?          

The findings have important implications for our understanding of why and how melanomas develop and progress and point to new ways to treat the disease.

Accurately diagnosing melanoma is crucial for the best management and health outcomes for patients. What will you be focussing on in your other presentation, entitled “Is pathology the gold standard for diagnosis of melanoma: does it glitter?”?

I’ll be talking about the diagnosis of melanoma based on my experience working at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and MIA, the world’s largest melanoma treatment centre, for almost two decades. Most pigmented lesions can be diagnosed as either benign (ordinarily harmless) or malignant (cancerous) quickly, rapidly and reproducibly by well-trained tissue pathologists by examining the lesion under a microscope. However, there is a small but troublesome subgroup of lesions for which it can be difficult or impossible even for acknowledged experts to predict their clinical behaviour from assessment of the histological features. In this talk I will be discussing new techniques that can be used to more accurately classify this uncommon subgroup of tumours and provide recommendations for how patients with these tumours are managed clinically.

With the Australasian Melanoma Conference being held next week, what are you looking forward to the most?

The conference will be a great opportunity to share ideas and knowledge with some of the world’s leading melanoma clinicians and researchers, and to catch up with many friends and colleagues. At conferences like this, novel ideas and new collaborations are often generated which are vitally important for moving the field forward as we strive towards our goal at MIA of having zero deaths from melanoma for our children’s generation.