Posted November 27, 2012
For individuals diagnosed with cancer, one of the nagging concerns is whether it will spread to other parts of the body. Although body scans can be performed to identify cancer cells, most tests can only show active growth areas.
Now there is hope for individuals with ocular melanoma eye cancer. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have designed a genetic test that can determine accurately whether this most common form of eye cancer is likely to spread to the liver or other areas in the body. Melanoma in the eye is considered relatively rare, but about 2,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year.
This new genetic test identifies whether the cancer is composed of one of two gene patterns (Class 1 and Class 2) common in eye melanomas. Based on research, doctors have discovered that with Class 1, patients are cured when the tumor is removed. But for individuals with Class 2, the cancer likely will spread to the liver, with few effective treatment options available. Historically, about 70 to 80 percent of individuals diagnosed with Class 2 have died within five years.