Uveal melanoma: identifying biomarkers for prognosis

Predicting the risks of relapse is one of the challenges of research into uveal melanoma.

Following the natural phenomenon of tumor-cell deterioration, part of the cells’ genetic material is found in the blood. This tumor DNA can point to the presence of metastasis at a stage where it is still too small to be detected by medical imaging but is small enough to be curable.

In 2012, two physician-scientists from Institut Curie, Marc-Henri Stern and Olivier Lantz, showed for the first time that it was possible to detect circulating tumor DNA in the blood of patients suffering from metastatic uveal melanoma. Its presence reveals the existence of a tumor and its quantity reflects the size: this is in fact a new biomarker that is able to indicate the presence of a tumor or relapse at a very early stage (6). With this disease, this technique appears to be more sensitive than the search for circulating tumor cells (cells that circulate in the bloodstream before settling in another organ).