An existing non-invasive gene expression test could effectively rule out a diagnosis of melanoma in a suspicious lesion, eliminating or reducing the need for a surgical biopsy.
In an analysis published in Dermatology Online Journal, researchers examined whether results from the commercially available Pigmented Lesion Assay (PLA) test remained accurate after 12 months. The findings confirmed the test’s critically important high negative predictive value, potentially altering how dermatologists could choose to approach future lesion diagnosis in clinic.
And, based on the outcomes, says study author Daniel Siegel, M.D., a dermatology professor at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, the test could benefit patients, as well as providers.
“For melanoma, there is no other purely diagnostic assay for doctors to use,” he says. “We have good prognostic assays, but this is the only diagnostic test that is both sensitive and specific, that isn’t disruptive or harmful to the patient.”
To determine PLA’s long-term validity, Dr. Siegel and his team followed up on previous research that determined whether 1,575 lesions contained genes associated with melanoma, particularly Preferentially Expressed Antigen in Melanoma (PRAME) and Long Intergenic Non-Coding RNA 518 (LINC00518). In the current analysis, they re-examined the 734 previously PLA-evaluated lesions that tested negative for any melanoma gene expression.