Use of gene expression profile testing as a prognostic tool in early-stage cutaneous melanoma – compelling but not ready for primetime

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Advances in the field of molecular genetics have led to the development of multiple tests capable of identifying genetic changes within cutaneous melanoma. Although the majority of these tests are currently used for diagnostic purposes, their potential use as prognostic tools is rapidly emerging. A new 31-gene expression profile test has been developed that promises to accurately predict metastatic risk in patients with early-stage cutaneous melanoma. Although current data are promising, many questions remain in terms of its potential effects in patient care. Thus, before this test is used routinely in clinical practice, we recommend that it first be performed as part of current adjuvant treatment trials as a potential predictive marker or other high-quality studies investigating relevant outcomes resulting from changes in the clinical management of patients on the basis of the gene expression profile test results.

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