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Pitt Researchers Identify Genes That May Help Improve Treatment for Melanoma Patients

The findings of a study, which were presented at this year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), isolated eight genes that could help predict a melanoma patient’s response to treatment.  The researchers were from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI).

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that originates in the cells that produce melanin.  It is the most serious type of skin cancer.  Approximately 70,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed this year.

The researchers examined the tumor tissues of 21 patients with metastatic melanoma.  The cases were classified into two groups:  those who responded to chemotherapy and those who did not.  Once the cases were divided, the data was analyzed using a mathematical tool to survey the genes to see if they could identify ones that could distinguish responders from nonresponders.

The results of the study show that genetic testing could someday allow doctors to identify which patients will respond to standard chemotherapy and which patients will not.