For many years, genetic expression profiling has been used in melanoma management to both make a more accurate diagnosis and assist in predicting which patients are at the highest risk of having their melanoma metastasize.
“One interesting next step is to apply this technology to other tumors,” said Laura Ferris, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. “One that is being worked on currently is squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.”
The test could help clinicians determine if a biopsied squamous cell carcinoma is at high risk of metastasizing to the lymph nodes or distantly.
“This is important information because we treat tumors that are at higher risk of metastasizing more aggressively with therapies such as radiation in addition to surgery,” says Dr. Ferris, who spoke about the potential of genetic expression profiling for squamous cell carcinoma at the Fall Clinical Dermatology Conference. “We may also consider chemotherapy for some high-risk patients. However, we want to reserve those treatments, which carry risk and have side effects, for those patients who are most likely to benefit from them.”
In clinical practice, the testing for squamous cell carcinoma should be similar to melanoma, using formalin fixed paraffin-embedded tissue section.
Dr. Ferris is a consultant and investigator for DermTech and SciBase, as well as an investigator for Castle Biosciences.
Ferris, LK, Cockerell, CJ. Genetic Expression Profiling Beyond Melanoma Prognosis. Presented at: 2019 Fall Clinical Dermatology Conference; October 17, 2019; Las Vegas, NV.