A Life-Death Predictor Adds to a Cancer’s Strain


July 10, 2012

New York Times - When 18-year-old Cassandra Caton was referred by an ophthalmologist to Washington University, she found out she had a melanoma filling her eyeball. Doctors try to give survival odds based on a tumor’s appearance and size, but often that is just an educated guess. But Ms. Caton had a new option, something that became possible only in this new genetic age. She could have a genetic test of her tumor that could reveal her prognosis with uncanny precision. The test identifies one of two gene patterns in eye melanomas. Almost everyone in Class 1 — roughly half of patients — is cured when the tumor is removed. As for those in Class 2, 70 to 80 percent will die within five years. Their cancers will re-emerge as growths in the liver. For them, there is no cure and no way to slow the disease.

New York Times article

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