Identification of non-invasive biomarkers to monitor patients after surgical resection of localized primary cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) is fundamental for the detection of early clinical recurrence. Men and women exhibit different age patterns of melanoma incidence and different prognosis. Women are often diagnosed during their reproductive years and have a better prognosis that is not completely explained by differences in the stage at diagnosis or in the biology of the lesion. Large amount of expression profiles is available in public repositories and could be investigated with a special focus on gender-specific prognostic signatures according to age classes. At the same time, collection of primary lesion tissues and of longitudinal serum/plasma samples together with patient follow-up could allow prospective validation of prognostic signatures and identification of novel circulating markers to monitor patients.
Men and women are affected by melanoma at different ages and the prognoses for the two genders are different too. Women are often diagnosed during their reproductive years and have a better prognosis that is not completely explained by differences in the dimension and the biology of the lesions.
Gender should be considered an important prognostic factor, to be combined with a) age, b) Breslow thickness, c) lesion location (for example, thin lesions that located in the head and are between 0.8 and 1 mm thick are strongly associated with melanoma mortality), as well as d) information on molecular or metabolic biomarkers (primarily sex hormones), which can be analysed either in the primary lesion tissue or in plasma, during patient follow-up.
The tissue of the primary lesion is composed of malignant melanocytes, adjacent unprocessed melanocytes, stroma containing activated fibroblasts, immune system cells, endothelial cells, and is a precious source of molecular information associated with the different tissue compartments. In addition, archival tissues with complete information on patient follow-up can be useful for identifying tissue biomarkers associated with prognosis.
This project is focused on the identification of (non-invasive) biomarkers to detect early clinical recurrence of cancer. It will do so by exploiting large amounts of expression profiles available in public repositories which will be investigated with a focus on gender-specific prognostic signatures according to age classes. At the same time, we will collect a) primary lesion tissues from patients that have been followed-up, to validate the prognostic signatures and b) longitudinal serum/plasma samples from patients with newly diagnosed primary melanoma, to investigate novel circulating markers for monitoring patients.
Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s):
- University of Turin