We discussed this a month or so ago as it was presented at ASCO. Here is what one of our esteemed scientific board members said: There is a fair bit of mis-information on their website. The stated “importance” of this genetic test is based on a very small sample size. While, in concept, this is an attractive hypothesis, one that has gained great traction in the breast cancer field, the clinical relevance of any melanoma gene signature clearly needs to be validated in a much larger patient dataset before it becomes part of standard staging.
While this testing will one day offer extremely valuable data to doctors and patients, I believe it is still too early to rely upon.
For one, the study splits the Stage 1 tumors into two groups, Risk Cat 1 and Risk Cat 2, with Cat 2 being much worse of a prognosis. What the study doesn’t say however, is what was the ratio of Cat 1 and Cat 2 tumors in relation to the sample size.
We know from previous long-term studies, particularly the Queensland study, that the overall survival prognosis in stage 1a-1b melanoma is very good. So, I believe it is safe to say that the tumors this tool classifies as a Cat 2 with 72% chance of metastasizing represent a very small number of their sample.
Perhaps the biology of a tumor changes as it grows and becomes “nastier”. Who knows…
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