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OHSU Cancer Instutute researchers find abnormalities in gene for melanoma
Date:5/29/2008

pecific treatments such as hormonal inhibitors and/or the drug Herceptin. He predicts that drugs to treat the mutations found in melanomas could be developed in as little as 18 months.

In the very near future, we can do DNA testing of melanomas to better know exactly what is driving the growth of the cancer and select the best treatment. When we know what is wrong, we can do something to fix it, Heinrich said.

The same KIT mutations as those found in gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are present in mucosal and acral melanomas. Gleevecs effectiveness against tumors with KIT mutations was first demonstrated by Heinrich. Recent studies have found KIT mutations in 11 percent of acral melanomas 21 percent of mucosal melanomas and 17 percent of melanomas arising in sun-damaged skin.

Melanoma is found predominantly in skin but also in the bowel and the eye. It is the most serious type of cancer of the skin. Each year in the United States, more than 53,600 people learn they have melanoma and the percentage of people who develop melanoma has more than doubled in the past 30 years, according to the National Cancer Institute.


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Contact: Christine Decker
deckerch@ohsu.edu
503-494-8231
Oregon Health & Science University
Source:Eurekalert

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