Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ultrasound can predict tumour burden and survival in melanoma patients, sparing many people unnecessary surgery

Berlin, Germany: Researchers have shown for the first time that patterns of ultrasound signals can be used to identify whether or not cancer has started to spread in melanoma patients, and to what extent. The discovery enables doctors to decide on how much surgery, if any, is required and to predict the patient’s probable survival.

Dr Christiane Voit told Europe’s largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 – ESMO 34 [1], in Berlin today (Wednesday 23 September): “We have identified two ultrasound patterns of lymph node metastasis in melanoma patients which can identify correctly any amount of tumour cells in the sentinel lymph nodes in 75-90% of cases before proceeding to surgery on the sentinel lymph nodes.”

Dr Voit, who is a dermatologist and head of the diagnostic unit at the Skin Cancer Centre at Charité РUniversitätsmedizin Berlin, the Medical University of Berlin, Germany, said that although her research needs to be confirmed in multi-centre, randomised clinical trials, it had the potential to spare patients unnecessary surgery, especially if it was combined with ultrasound-guided fine needle biopsy of lymph nodes rather than conventional surgery.

source: ECCO

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