Melanoma is a skin cancer and one of the most aggressive forms of the disease. Initially, it usually manifests as a small spot on the skin. When a dermatologist confirms the diagnosis visually, he then performs an excision, that is, a removal of the lesion, which makes it possible to determine the severity and extent of the melanoma in order to adjust the treatment. A new option could soon see the light of day. In the magazine Progressive NanoBiomed researchResearchers at the University of Michigan in the United States explain that they have developed a blood test to detect the presence of melanoma cells.
A non-invasive method
“These tests can allow patients to forego invasive skin biopsies to determine if they have skin cancerThe test relies on two tools: the melanoma-specific OncoBean platform and melanoma-specific antibodies. Scientists look for circulating tumor cells, called CTCs, in blood samples. They found that melanoma patients have more than 4.87 CTCs per ml of blood while they are healthy Donors have less than 0.47 CTC per ml of blood. According to their results, the studies showed that the test can be used not only to diagnose melanoma, but also to assess whether all cancer cells have been removed after skin cancer surgery.”CTCs offer the potential to identify treatment resistance and recurrence, and can be a valuable biomarker to noninvasively monitor disease progression.”emphasizes one of the authors of the study, Sunitha Nagrath.
Other types of cancer detected by blood tests
This isn’t the first time scientists have developed a technique to detect cancer in a blood test. These tests, called liquid biopsy, are already used to detect lung cancer: people with the disease sometimes have abnormalities in their DNA that can be detected in the blood. Further scientific work is underway to apply this method to different tumor types. In late 2021, British researchers published encouraging results on prostate cancer. The test created is also based on the detection of CTCs in the blood and could make it possible to identify resistance to therapy. But this technology could also be used for breast or colon cancer. Within the University Hospital of Lyon, a research program is dedicated to liquid biopsies. The teams are working on using this technology for different types of cancer.