New Melanoma Test Predicts the Spread or Recurrence of Skin Cancer

A new pioneering test has recently been released where the main objective is to predict the spread or return of deadly skin cancers has been developed by a team of Newcastle scientists and clinicians. Through further understanding of the mechanisms that cause skin cancer growth they have made significant technological advances. This test will be able to determine the patient's risk of progression and identify key information on the risk of spreading of the disease.

With melanoma cases in the world on the rise, 96,000 in the United States diagnosed each year, the urgency of these types of tests are becoming more prevalent. Currently the primary way that skin cancer is identified and classified is by the patients undergoing surgery to remove the tumors where a pathologist will study the biopsy to come with a result. Even if the skin cancer is identified as a low risk of spreading, the patients are recommended to follow up with clinics for up to 5 years to track the progress.

The new test is called AMBLor®, which applies to the standard biopsy of the primary melanoma on its removal, patients that are at low risk of the disease reoccurring or spreading will be identified. The AMBLor test is based on recent research that found certain early-stage melanomas secrete a protein known as transforming growth factor-beta 2 (TGFβ2). This growth factor down regulates production of several proteins known to keep the tumor contained.

Through the support and funding of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) along with AMLo Biosciences, a referral service for sending sections of a patient’s melanoma for lab analysis is now available. 

The findings from these tests have recently been published in the British Journal of Dermatology that demonstrates the mechanism in the skin that lays the foundation of the test.

The ability of this test to identify if the tumor is genuinely low risk will surely decrease the anxiety of patients in a stressful situation.  It will also reduce the number of follow up appointments for those identified as low risk which will save time and money.

The test is currently available in the United Kingdom, the researchers are working to make it available through the National Health Service (NHS) in England, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use in the United States is expected soon.