Potential Genetic Screening for Aggressive Melanoma

Dr. Mitchell Stark

Researchers from The University of Queensland (UQ) and The Alfred hospital in Melbourne have identified gene variants which may contribute to people being at higher risk for nodular melanoma. Dr. Mitchell Stark from UQ’s Frazer Institute said nodular melanoma only accounts for around 14 per cent of invasive melanoma cases, but this aggressive subtype is the largest contributor to melanoma deaths. “Melanoma is highly curable by surgery when diagnosed early, but nodular melanoma is often detected later because of its rapid growth rate and short window of opportunity for detection and diagnosis,” Dr. Stark said. “Up to 27 per cent of nodular melanoma cases appear as a skin-colored tumor, as opposed to other more pigmented melanomas, adding an additional challenge to early diagnosis. “We hope that by identifying these rare variants, it could help establish screening programs to determine the people most at risk.”

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