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Skin cancer: a blood test to prevent the risk of recurrence

With a simple blood test, British researchers were able to detect the risk of recurrence in patients with melanoma, an aggressive cancer of the skin of stage 2 and 3. This test, which analyzes the DNA of the tumor, could lead to early immunotherapy treatments and thus increase the chances of survival of patients.

liquid melanoma biopsy
A simple blood test can analyze the DNA of the cutaneous tumor and could lead to early immunotherapy treatments and increase the chances of survival of patients. 

This discovery is hopeful for patients with skin melanoma most at risk of recurrence, who may benefit from new immunotherapy treatments, concludes a British study published this Wednesday, December 6 in the journal “Annals of Oncology “.

Researchers from Cancer Research UK and the Christie NHS Foundation Trust Cancer Center UK analyzed the blood of 161 patients with Stage 2 and Stage 3 melanoma who were removed after undergoing treatment. an operation.

In particular, they looked for abnormalities specific to two genes (BRAF and NRAS) found in 70% of skin cancers.

Five years later, 33% of patients who had a positive blood test on one of the two genes were alive, compared to 65% who had not tested, reports the study.

The results also show that skin cancer was more likely to reappear the year after surgery in patients who had abnormalities on any gene.

” If this tumor DNA test can accurately predict the timing of cancer recurrence, it could help physicians target patients who may be receiving new immunotherapies that can reduce the risk of cancer spread ,” he said. ‘enthusiasm Professor Richard Marais, Director of Cancer Research UK.

The next step in testing this approach is to conduct a clinical trial where patients will be asked to perform regular blood tests after the end of their initial treatment.

Immunotherapy treatments , the workhorse of oncology researchers to treat the most advanced cancers in particular, consist in having the cancer cells recognized by the immune system, which can thus fight them, like a vaccine. For now, they have given good results validated in clinical trials concerning melanoma of the skin.

Each year, 200,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed worldwide. The figure reaches about 80,000 in France. Detected in time, 90% of skin cancers can be treated.

It should be noted that 70% of skin cancers are linked to excessive exposure to the sun, mainly intermittent and intense exposures during childhood.

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