Doctors use DecisionDx-UM to guide follow-up care
We know that up to half of uveal melanomas have metastasized by the time the eye tumor is discovered and treated. However, the cancer cells are so tiny that they go undetected by today’s imaging techniques—an event known as micro-metastasis. Most ocular oncologists use a prognostic test called DecisionDx™-UM to determine the likelihood that the cancer has already spread. According to two recent studies, it is being used to match a patient’s risk to an appropriate surveillance plan.
For instance, according to these studies, if the tumor was identified as being at low risk of having metastasized (either Class 1A or 1B), doctors are recommending a low intensity surveillance program such as alternating between periodic liver function tests and ultrasound or MRI. If the tumor was at a high risk (Class 2), the doctors were monitoring for metastasis more frequently and using more advanced imaging such as ultrasound, MRI, or CT scans, along with liver function tests.
If your doctor catches the spread of your eye melanoma early on when it is small, there are interventions that may be considered, including laparascopic radioablation, hepatic arterial perfusion chemo-embolization, and surgical resection (removal).
The hope is that intensive monitoring for metastasis may lead to early detection and treatment that could produce better outcomes for patients. Along these lines, there will soon be clinical trials to test promising new agents for patients whose eye melanoma is expected to spread. As always, decisions regarding the risk and benefits of specific surveillance and treatment plans are between a patient and their physician.