Epigenomic monitoring of residual disease in melanoma using liquid biopsies


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The key research questions in this project are:

  • Develop a highly sensitive circulating tumour DNA test for patients with melanoma, through the characterisation of circulating tumour DNA methylation patterns
  • Predict and monitor disease recurrence and effectively guide the delivery of adjuvant therapy to those most likely to benefit

The details

Melanoma is the cause of most skin cancer deaths worldwide. While surgery and adjuvant therapies are the mainstay of treatment in early melanoma, many patients relapse following treatment, as well as experience profound side effects from therapy.

There is a critical need to improve the selection of patients likely to benefit from adjuvant therapy and monitor which patients are likely to relapse following treatment.

Many cancers, including melanoma, can release small fragments of their DNA into a patient’s bloodstream (called circulating tumour DNA). Circulating tumour DNA analysis can be performed from a simple blood test and may help identify patients with residual disease that has not been eradicated following treatment who are at highest risk of relapse.

The incorporation of circulating tumour DNA-based monitoring in melanoma management has potential to facilitate the development of personalised treatment approaches, providing a powerful tool to significantly improve outcomes from this disease.

The graduate researcher on this project is: Diogo Ann (Ann) Onuselogu

Supervision team

First published on 28 March 2022.

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