A new, noninvasive test that relies on a special adhesive tape to collect cells from the surface of suspicious skin lesions can accurately identify both early and advanced melanomas, researchers say. It might be a way,in future, to avoid surgical biopsies of skin lesions.
The experimental tape test is being developed by California-based biotech company DermTech International, which funded the research.
Using a patented technology known as Epidermal Genetic Information Retrieval, researchers were able to collect RNA from suspicious skin lesions before biopsies were performed using the special adhesive strip.
The RNA samples were then sent to the company’s lab for genetic analysis. Earlier research identified genes that are specific to melanomas, and the analysis included 17 of these.
Study researcher William Wachsman, MD, PhD, says the 17-gene biomarker can even differentiate between very early and invasive disease.
The test identified localized and invasive melanomas 100% of the time, with a 12% rate of false-positives, in a study performed at 18 sites across the U.S.
Melanoma is a treatable cancer if caught early but can be deadly once cancer cells have spread beyond the skin. Its incidence has doubled over the last two decades, and in the U.S., the increase has been especially dramatic among young women and older men.
DermTech researchers are working to bring the cost of the test down and more testing will be conducted before the company seeks FDA approval.
Source: WebMD Health News