Experimental Blood Test to Detect Melanoma

by Dr. Stephen Ho

Australian researchers have developed a blood test that is capable of detecting melanoma in its early stages.  This diagnostic test detects antibodies in the blood, with significant accuracy, to identify patients with primary melanoma.  Antibodies are very specific proteins made by a person’s immune system to fight off foreign substances such as bacteria, viruses, toxins as well as cancer cells.  The research team has identified a combination of 10 antibodies that best signal the presence of melanoma. The researchers were able to identify people with melanoma with 84% accuracy (16% false positive rate), in a study with 245 total blood samples (with 124 samples from melanoma patients compared to 121 samples from healthy patients).  The blood samples were drawn within 1-3 months of initial primary melanoma diagnosis.  However, in order for the test to be more clinically useful, researchers do plan to perform a larger clinical trial to refine the test, hoping to increase the accuracy to 90% or greater.

The study was published in the July 17, 2018 edition of Oncotarget.

Dr. Ho’s Commentary:  Having a new diagnostic test to detect cancer such as melanoma is always exciting and welcomed.  Early diagnosis is extremely important for melanoma since when detected early, the 5-year survival rate can be over 95%, but with advanced metastatic disease the corresponding survival rate drops below 20%.  Nonetheless, more studies will be needed to verify how accurate this test is and how it would be best used in daily clinical practice.  The question of which patients are appropriate to make this test worthwhile and financially feasible is yet to be answered.  The test, of course, does not tell us the location of the tumor, thus a biopsy of clinically suspicious skin lesion(s) would still be required.  The test also needs to be as accurate as possible otherwise patients with false-positive results might receive unnecessary follow up evaluation.

 

For now, the best screening strategies are still regular self skin examinations at home and a regularly scheduled professional exam by a board-certified dermatologist.

Denver's Best Dermatologists

American Academy of Dermatology American Society for Dermatologic Surgery
Dr. Joel Cohen

Dr. Joel Cohen

As director of AboutSkin Dermatology, the nationally renowned Dr. Cohen oversees the practice.

Dr. Samantha Stoler

Dr. Samantha Stoler

Dr. Stoler has provided medical and surgical services at AboutSkin Dermatology since 2011.

Dr. Stephen C. Ho

Dr. Stephen Ho

Dr. Ho joined AboutSkin Dermatology in 2012, and provides medical and surgical services.

Dr. Scott Walter

Dr. Scott Walter

With AboutSkin Dermatology since 2017, Dr. Walter provides medical and surgical services.

Dr. Jade Fettig

Dr. Jade Fettig

Dr. Fettig came to AboutSkin in 2019 after completing her Boston University residency.

Brooke E. Rothstein, MD,

Dr. Brooke Rothstein

Dr.Brooke E. Rothstein has joined AboutSkin Dermatology after graduating from Tufts University.

Dr. Joel Cohen

Dr. Joel Cohen

Read More

As director of AboutSkin Dermatology, the nationally renowned Dr. Cohen oversees the practice.

Dr. Samantha Stoler

Dr. Samantha Stoler

Read More

Dr. Stoler has provided medical and surgical services at AboutSkin Dermatology since 2011.

Dr. Stephen C. Ho

Dr. Stephen Ho

Read More

Dr. Ho joined AboutSkin Dermatology in 2012, and provides medical and surgical services.

Dr. Scott Walter

Dr. Scott Walter

Read More

With AboutSkin Dermatology since 2017, Dr. Walter provides medical and surgical services.

Dr. Jade Fettig

Dr. Jade Fettig

Read More

Dr. Fettig came to AboutSkin in 2019 after completing her Boston University residency.

Brooke E. Rothstein, MD,

Dr. Brooke Rothstein

Read More

Dr.Brooke E. Rothstein has joined AboutSkin Dermatology after graduating from Tufts University.

Patient Testimonials

This office is WONDERFUL. Dr. Cohen is literally world famous and totally down to earth, and teaches folks all over the globe about skin cancer surgery, botox, restylane, juvederm...

Google Review

— M.S

Before & After Photos

Before & After Photos

Television APPEARANCES

Denver CBS Denver The Doctors 2 Colorados News

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA


Stay up to date on the latest AboutSkin Dermatology & DermSurgery, PC happenings by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.

CONTACT OUR OFFICE

security code

GREENWOOD VILLAGE OFFICE


MAIN OFFICE

5340 South Quebec St.,
Ste. 300
Greenwood Village, CO 80111

South Entrance

Monday-Friday: 8am – 5pm

Phone No.: (303) 756-7546

Fax: (303) 756-7547

AboutSkin Dermatology & Derm Surgery

SKY RIDGE MEDICAL CENTER


10099 Ridge Gate Parkway, Ste. 490
Lone Tree, CO 80124
Conifer Building

West Parking Lot

Monday-Friday: 8am – 5pm

Phone No.: (303) 756-7546

Fax: (303) 799-4696