Melanoma: A complex disease to detect

There are so many challenges to face when the doctors are trying to diagnose melanoma, because it can be confused with so many diseases. It is even more difficult to diagnose if it is already a metastatic cancer because there can be confusion regarding that the primary tumor is in the organ that was found to have the malignant tumor.

Moreover, diagnostic criteria and diagnostic approaches vary considerably across the field, and the diagnosis of melanoma is usually ruled out. Fortunately, molecular tools are available and have the potential to give some measure of diagnostic uniformity and insight in the evaluation of controversial tumors. Additionally, these techniques have the potential to unveil new oncogenic pathways that may disrupt existing morphology-based diagnostic conclusions. But we have to remember, that these molecular tools are supplemental to histopathologic evaluation and do not replace conventional microscopy.

Among the majority of molecular tools used in this field, the primary ones are:

  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization
  • Array comparative genomic hybridization
  • Massively parallel short-read sequencing

These techniques provided varied (and often incomplete) additional information, so that’s why careful planning is necessary if tissue is limited. Both techniques, can be complementary to the other one, so more accurate information can be delivered to the specialist, such as, if the tumor of the patient have some mutations in key genes involved in the development of melanoma, the specialist can know if certain therapy can have better results than the traditional one, for example. So, it can be generated more specific treatments to the subjects.

The good news is that the techniques often are improved by scientists in the field, so not only as an oncologist, you will be able to determinate in early stages the correct disease. This is important, because as we know, if in early stages the cancer is detected, more chances the patient have to recover from the disease. Even more important, in this types of diseases, where the traditional scheme of chemotherapy is not as effective as the resection of the tumor in early stages.

Here in Althian we have experience managing protocols, especially those related to cancer. We have many years working in this field, and we know the importance to include those subjects that have the correct type of disease, so we have plenty tools available that can help to determinate if a subject meet all the inclusion criteria. Please contact us and we will more than happy to explain you how we work.