Navigation Links
Routine blood test predicts prognosis in aggressive skin cancer
Date:10/31/2012

BOSTON, MA (October 31, 2012)A routine blood test may help predict survival in patients with an aggressive form of skin cancer known as Merkel cell carcinoma, according to new findings by Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers. The results will be presented on Wednesday, October 31 at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's 54th Annual Meeting.

"With such a fast-growing cancer, we get one question a lot: 'how long do I have?'," says Matthew Johnson, MD, a resident physician in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Fox Chase and lead author on the study. "That's usually hard to answer. These findings enable us to give a more educated response."

Specifically, Johnson and his colleagues found that patients with Merkel cell carcinoma who had low numbers of lymphocytesa type of white blood cell that participates in immune functiondidn't live as long after treatment as those with higher lymphocyte counts.

The difference was remarkable. Among people whose absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) was below the cutoff (1500 cells per cubic millimeter of blood, or 1.5 k/mm3), half survived 25 months or less after surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. Among those with ALCs in the normal range, half lived close to 100 months or more following treatment. Disease-free survival was also much longer in patients with higher ALCs.

"Since ALC has been tied to prognosis in other types of cancer, we were expecting to see some difference between patients with high and low counts," says Johnson. "But it was definitely a bigger difference than what we were anticipating."

Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare and aggressive type of skin cancer, usually striking older people and those with weakened immune systems.

During the study, Johnson and his team reviewed medical records of 64 patients treated for Merkel cell carcinoma between 1992 and 2010 at Fox Chase. All patients had had their blood analyzed the month before surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.

Approximately two-thirds of patients had a normal ALC. Along with having longer overall survival, these patients were much more likely to be disease-free 60 months later (67%) than those with a low ALC (24%).

ALC may be associated with survival because it's a marker of overall immune health, says Johnson, and healthier immune systems may keep a cancer in check so it doesn't continue to grow.

Doctors routinely check a patient's ALC as part of a standard blood count, says Johnson. They just typically don't know how to interpret those particular results. Since checking a patient's ALC is already routine, it would be "reasonable, based on our conclusions," for a patient to ask his or her doctor for the results of that test, he notes.

However, if a patient's ALC is particularly low, there's little the doctor would do differently to treat Merkel cell carcinoma, since such an aggressive cancer is always treated aggressively. But many patients believe it's helpful to know their prognosis, he says.

"ALC provides patients with some information about how long they may have left. There are a lot of patients who just want to know."


'/>"/>
Contact: Diana Quattrone
Diana.Quattrone@fccc.edu
215-728-7784
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Routine mammograms may result in significant overdiagnosis of invasive breast cancer
2. Routine Kidney Disease Screening Not Worthwhile, Experts Say
3. Doctors Urge Routine Skin Screenings
4. U.S. Advisers Say No to Routine PSA Tests for Prostate Cancer
5. Routine care for Crohns disease in children should include measurement of bone age
6. Not Enough Data to Advise Routine Hearing Screens for Older People: Experts
7. Routine Screening Wont Cut Rates of Domestic Violence, Study Suggests
8. Routine electrocardiograms predict health risks for patients with atrial fibrillation
9. Infection Might Raise Blood Clot Risk for Older Adults: Study
10. Normalizing tumor blood vessels improves delivery of only the smallest nanomedicines
11. Common Blood Pressure Drug Safe for Heart Failure: Study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned his Bachelors in ... School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at Scripps Green Hospital ... at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity to train in ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... A recent article published June 14 on E Online ... on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to undergo not only ... calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly Hills Physicians (BHP) ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 ... ... 12th International Conference and Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two ... Announcement of the grants came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain Relief Products, join The ‘Business for a ... an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it yearly to increase at the same rate ... assure the wage floor does not erode again, and make future increases more predictable. , ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... client, The Grove Investment Group (TGIG), has initiated cultivation and processing operations at ... Las Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada. , Puradigm is the manufacturer of a complete ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Any dentist who has made an ... current process. Many of them do not even offer this ... and high laboratory costs involved. And those who ARE able ... such a high cost that the majority of today,s patients ... Parsa Zadeh , founder of Dental Evolutions Inc. and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... "Global MEMS Devices Medical Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to ... The report contains up to date financial ... reliable analysis. Assessment of major trends with potential impact on ... dive analysis of market segmentation which comprises of sub markets, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , , , WHEN: , , ... , , , LOCATION: , , , Online, with free registration ... PANELISTS:  , , , Frost & Sullivan,s Global Vice President of ... Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh Lal, Program Manager , ... witnessing an exceptional era. Several new demand spaces, such as innovative ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: