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Genetic test identifies eye cancer tumors likely to spread
Date:5/14/2012

lly in most other clinics. At the moment, more than 70 centers around the world are using a commercially available version of the same test."

In the past, some centers relied on a chromosome test to identify eye tumors that were likely to spread. That test looked at chromosome 3 because many ocular melanoma tumors have only one copy of that chromosome.

But the 15-gene expression profile test is more accurate. It takes a more complete "snapshot" of the entire tumor. Harbour says the results of the chromosome test can change, depending on which part of a tumor gets sampled.

"I compare it to how our brains recognize faces," he says. "We don't just focus on somebody's nose. We take in all of the information from the entire face. This test takes information from the entire tumor, so if the 'nose' in the 'picture' is out of focus for some reason, it still can analyze other things."

Another strength of the test, he says, is that it can identify which patients will need the closest monitoring.

"Here at Washington University, for example, we monitor patients with class 2 tumors every three months and can begin treatment right away if we find evidence that a tumor has spread," he says.

On the other hand, the current study found that more than 60 percent of patients with ocular melanoma have class 1 tumors. Those patients don't need to be followed with the same frequency.

"We won't have to use high-intensity surveillance on everyone, only on those patients with a class 2 molecular signature, because they're the ones at risk for metastatic cancer," Harbour says.


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Contact: Jim Dryden
jdryden@wustl.edu
314-286-0110
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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