Research autopsies reveal how incurable skin cancer resists treatment
30 March 2023
Analysis of data from the CTC-coordinated PEACE study has revealed how some skin cancers stop responding to treatment. 

An in-depth analysis of 14 patients who died from incurable melanoma has revealed that changes to the order, structure and number of copies of tumour DNA could cause some skin cancers to resist treatment. These changes also explain how melanoma can spread to other parts of the body. 

The research, published in the journal Cancer Discovery, was led by scientists and clinicians at the UCL Cancer Institute, the Francis Crick Institute and The Royal Marsden. Their analysis is shedding light on the final stages of life with cancer by analysing tumour samples taken from autopsies with informed consent. 

Dr Mariam Jamal-Hanjani, Clinical Associate Professor at UCL Cancer Institute and lead investigator of the PEACE study, said: “These results present the most detailed picture yet of what melanoma looks like at the final stages of life. We can now see how the cancer evolves to spread to the brain and the liver, and how it can beat the most common treatment currently available for people with advanced disease.”

PEACE was funded by Cancer Research UK. More can be read on the findings on the UCL website.

Image from the PEACE study demonstrating the atypical, discohesive, plasmacytoid cells characteristic of metastatic melanoma
Credit: Francis Crick Institute

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