Health Discoveries in Melanoma

Genetic study will help diagnose and treat melanoma

April 21, 2011
The DNA coding of the most serious form of skin cancer has been surveyed by researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has turned up important information that will help diagnose and treat melanoma.

Published online in the journal Nature Genetics, the whole-exome sequencing explored the melanoma genome's functional parts and focused on gene mutations that are at their highest level in advanced cancer.

"This study represents a collaboration of basic science, clinical research, genome sequencing and data analysis at its best," said Dr. Eric D. Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, the National Cancer Institute, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine participated in the NIH study.

The research team focused on mutations most likely to cause melanoma and identified 68 genetic changes that seemed to mutate at greater frequency and intensity, as well as recurrent mutations in multiple patient tumors.

Within the North Shore-LIJ Health System, the Mohs Skin Cancer Center provides Mohs micrographic surgery, which is an advanced surgical method that has the highest cure rate for many skin cancers. Mohs surgery keeps intact as much normal skin as possible.
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