The Role of Genomic Testing

Personalized Information That Helps Guide Melanoma Treatment and Management Decisions

In contrast to genetics, which focuses on inherited disorders and/or inherited risk for developing cancer, the goal of genomics is to understand how combinations of genetic features change disease behavior. Although the field is relatively young, genome-based medicine, frequently called personalized medicine, is the future of healthcare—where more can be known about human genetics, disease, and wellness than ever before. 

Personalized medicine is designed to make treatment as individualized as the disease itself. It involves translating genetic, genomic, and clinical information into an improved estimate of the risk of recurrence so that treatment plans can be tailored to that patient’s individual tumor. Advances are also opening the door to far more accurate predictive tests for cancers that allow healthcare professionals to better treat and prepare patients for what may happen in the course of their disease.

In general, genomic testing can:

  • Improve the accuracy of diagnosing a particular disease.
  • Improve the accuracy of a patient’s prognosis (how likely a tumor is to metastasize or spread) and enabling decisions about an increase or decrease in care.
  • Identify which patients may respond better to a specific therapy (typically called a targeted therapy).

For cutaneous melanoma, or skin melanoma, DecisionDx®-Melanoma measures the activity of specific genes in your melanoma tumor that tell us how likely it is for your tumor to recur or spread. The test is well studied and widely used by healthcare professionals who treat melanoma patients. The information provided by DecisionDx-Melanoma can help a patient and their healthcare team make more informed decisions about the sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) surgical procedure and follow-up management plans.

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