The cells that make melanin, the pigment responsible for your skin's colour, grow into melanoma, one of the most dangerous types of skin cancer. Additionally, melanoma can develop in your eyes and, very rarely, inside your body, like in your throat or nose. It can start in a mole (skin melanoma), but it can also begin in pigmented tissues like the intestines or the eye.
The precise explanation for why all melanomas occur is unknown, although exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunshine, tanning beds, or tanning lamps increases your risk of getting the disease. Limiting your exposure to UV light reduces your chance of developing melanoma.
Figure 1: Visual comparisons of different stages of melanoma.
Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) refers to single-stranded or double-stranded DNA released into the bloodstream by tumor cells, carrying the tumor's mutations. It holds potential as a diagnostic tool for cancer. Identifying tumor-derived ctDNA, also known as circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), provides a non-invasive means to access the genetic makeup of the tumor. This aids in diagnosis, informs therapeutic approaches, and tracks therapy effectiveness. Nevertheless, due to the association between ctDNA signal and NGS (next-generation sequencing) noise, the current use of circulating cell-free DNA (ccfDNA) for somatic mutation discovery is primarily limited to tumor-informed searches and identification of common variants.
Accurate cancer prognosis assessment is crucial in the era of precision medicine for risk classification and optimal treatment selection. Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) can detect alterations in genes. For several cancers, ctDNA released into the bloodstream by cancer cells provides a complementary or alternative source of tumor DNA to traditional tumor tissue DNA.
In the realm of melanoma, ctDNA offers personalized management tools during treatment. By furnishing a reliable and accessible method to determine a patient's illness status, ctDNA facilitates swift, accurate treatment decisions, optimizing efficacy while minimizing unnecessary treatment burden. Its longitudinal collection allows for early and dynamic evaluation of therapy response.
Tests of Melanoma Skin Cancer include:
Circulating Tumor DNA (ctDNA) has emerged as a transformative tool in melanoma research, revolutionizing how we understand, diagnose, and manage this aggressive skin cancer. ctDNA's uses in melanoma research encompass:
Melanoma is one of the most mutated cancers, related largely to its origins in ultraviolet light and other mutational mechanisms.
Figure 2: Mutations in Melanoma and their clinical features (Source)
Treatment options depend on cancer stage and other factors, including surgery, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. Age, general health, potential treatment benefits, and adverse effects also play crucial roles in precision treatment decisions.
Crucial considerations for precision treatment:
The major genes involved in melanoma include:
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