New Under the Sun: Recurrent Genetic Mutations in Melanoma Whole-genome sequencing of 25 tumors confirms role of sun damage while revealing new genetic alterations

Melanoma – the deadliest and most aggressive form of skin cancer – has long been linked to time spent in the sun.payday loans Now a team led by scientists from the Broad Institute and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has sequenced the whole genomes of 25 metastatic melanoma tumors, confirming the role of chronic sun exposure and revealing new genetic changes important in tumor formation.

In an article published online May 9 in Nature, the authors provide the first high-resolution view of the genomic landscape of human melanoma tumors.

Previous genetic analyses have focused on the exomes of many types of cancer tumors, concentrating on the tiny fraction of the genome that provides the genetic code for producing proteins.

Whole genomes contain a wealth of genetic information, and by sequencing and analyzing 25 metastatic melanoma tumors – a significant technical and computational feat – scientists can learn vastly more about the variety of genetic alterations that matter in melanoma.

When the scientists explored the whole genome data generated and analyzed at the Broad, they found that the rates of genetic mutations rose along with chronic sun exposure in patients, confirming the role of sun damage in disease development.

Gene Inactivation Drives Spread of Melanoma

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – A team of UNC researchers have identified a key genetic switch that determines whether melanoma spreads by metastasis. In a paper published today in the journal Cancer Cell, a team from UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center demonstrates that inactivating a gene called LKB1 (or STK11) causes non-aggressive melanoma cells to become highly metastatic in model tumors from humans and mice. While a role had been known for LKB1 inactivation in lung cancer metastasis, the effects of LKB1 loss on melanoma spread is even more dramatic.

Melanoma: BRAF Inhibitor+Immunotherapy Increases Antitumor Activity

August 16, 2012 – 

About 50 percent of patients with metastatic melanoma — some 4,000 people a year — have the BRAF mutation and can be treated with Zelboraf. More than 50 percent of them respond well to the drug, but the responses usually last only a few months. With immunotherapy, fewer patients respond, but the responses are more durable. Treating metastatic melanoma by combining immunotherapy with a drug that inhibits the cancer-spreading activity of a common gene mutation significantly increased survival times in an animal model, according to a study recently published in Cancer Research. continue reading »

CollabRx Teams with MedPage Today to Introduce Digital Tool for Patient-Specific Genomic Approaches to Cancer Treatment

August 8, 2012 – 

CollabRx has begun to provide a version of its proprietary Therapy Finder tool to MedPage Today, Everyday Health’s rapidly growing online site that serves 96% of all oncologists and 1.6 million monthly online unique users.

New Melanoma Driver Genes Found In Largest DNA Sequencing Study to Date

July 29, 2012 – 

A Yale study has sequenced 147 melanomas, painting the most comprehensive picture yet of the disease’s molecular landscape. The study appears in the July 29 advance online publication of Nature Genetics. continue reading »