ONCAlert | 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting
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Testing Patients with Melanoma for Gene Mutations

Jeffrey S. Weber, MD, PhD
Published Online:6:55 PM, Fri October 4, 2013
Jeffrey S. Weber, MD, PhD, medical oncologist, Department of Cutaneous Oncology, director, Donald A. Adam Comprehensive Melanoma Research Center, Moffitt Cancer Center, discusses testing for genetic mutations in patients with melanoma.

Weber says that patients with melanoma should be tested for gene mutations any time it will impact care or enrollment on a clinical trial. Patients with stage III melanoma or higher and every patient with metastatic melanoma are tested at the Moffitt Cancer Center to determine eligibility and/or treatment off trials.

The amount of genetic mutations that physicians test for has increased over time, Weber says, and in the future, physicians will be able to get a full genetic characterization of a tumor. Physicians will use these tests to get an idea of the genetic changes that are going on in the circulating tumor DNA. This information, Weber says, will inform physicians on how they need to use therapy in an adaptive manner.

Weber thinks that this new adaptive approach will allow physicians to keep patients alive longer and even cure more patients.

Clinical Pearls
  • Patients with melanoma should be tested for gene mutations anytime it will impact their care or their ability to get on a clinical trial
  • In the future, physicians will use genetic testing to track genetic changes in tumors-allowing physicians to change therapies in an adaptive manner
  • An adaptive approach to treating melanoma will allow physicians to keep patients alive longer and even cure more patients
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