How certain can I be that I have melanoma?
Gene Expression Profiling is a test that looks at the genes expressed by a melanoma. The test generates a score which can separate melanoma from harmless moles.
What is the risk that my melanoma will come back?
Gene Expression Profiling can also be used to rate how likely a melanoma is to spread after it’s been treated. While very thin melanomas can by ‘cured’ with simple removal; deep melanomas often require that the lymph nodes be checked (sentinel lymph node biopsy) and removed if positive. But what about the ‘in between’ melanomas? A certain percentage of the 60,000 patients diagnosed with early stage melanoma each year will see their melanoma spread at some point after the original melanoma is removed.
Traditional staging of a melanoma deeper than 0.75-1.0mm requires checking the lymph nodes with a procedure called sentinel lymph node biopsy. A positive sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB+) result upstages a patient from Stage I or II to Stage III. While Stage III patients have the highest risk for their melanomas spreading, about 2 out of every 3 patients that have melanoma spread are Stage I or II, including those who had a SLNB with a negative result.
Gene Expression Profiling can help us determine how likely it is for a melanoma to spread after surgical removal. This is important because if you have a high risk melanoma, you may need to have a body scan exam with CT (computed tomography) or PET (positron emission tomography) scans.