A new diagnostic platform to detect BRAF mutations in melanoma and other cancer types is faster and more accurate compared with the standard method currently used in clinics, and this could help accelerate diagnosis and treatment, according to results presented here at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, held Oct. 19-23.
About 50 percent of melanomas, and less frequently other cancer types, harbor mutations in the BRAF oncogene. To date, more than 30 different cancer-associated BRAF mutations have been identified. The most common are the BRAF V600 mutations.
The new molecular diagnostics (MDx) prototype platform developed by Biocartis in Mechelen, Belgium, can detect BRAF V600 mutations in about 90 minutes, requires no sample preparation, and is 95 percent in agreement with the standard method approved by clinical laboratory improvement amendments (CLIA).
"When you do molecular testing for BRAF mutations the way it is done in the clinic, it often takes three to four weeks to get the results back. A lot of that time is spent preparing the sample, including laser microdissection to isolate DNA from the tumor cells," said Filip Janku, M.D., Ph.D., an oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. "With the MDx platform, it takes about two minutes to add fresh, frozen, or paraffin-embedded tumor samples to the sample cartridge and less than 90 minutes to get the results. This platform is capable of giving you an answer in an absolutely unprecedented time frame.