Test determines aggressive eye cancer

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eyeLOS ANGELES, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- A new procedure could tell ocular melanoma patients and their physicians if the eye cancer is the aggressive type that can be fatal, says a U.S. researcher.

"For the first time, we have demonstrated that it's safe and feasible to perform a biopsy in the living eye to obtain clear results about whether a tumor has metastatic potential or not," says Dr. Tara Young of the University of California at Los Angeles' Jules Stein Eye Institute and the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"Identifying patients at high risk for metastasis is an important first step toward reducing the death rate of this cancer, which kills nearly half of its patients."

UCLA surgeons use an ultra-fine needle to collect cells from the cancer before surgery and send the sample to the lab for culture. After growing the tumor cells, a geneticist analyzes them to determine whether they were missing a copy of chromosome 3 -- patients who are missing one copy of chromosome 3 in their tumor tissue are more likely to have highly aggressive cancer.

"Knowledge of metastatic risk will also help patients and their physicians decide whether to pursue clinical trials of experimental therapies that target metastasis," says Young.

The findings are published in the online edition of Ophthalmology.

source - UPI 

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