Dr. Magliocco on Analyzing the Genome of Melanoma Tumors
Anthony M. Magliocco, MD, chair of pathology, executive director of esoteric labs at Moffitt Cancer Center, discusses the difficulties of analyzing the genome of melanoma tumors.
Although physicians can now do thorough analyses of the genome, certain tumors, including melanoma tumors, have high mutational loads. This makes it difficult to determine which mutations cause the tumors and which mutations are “passenger mutations,” Magliocco says.
Magliocco speculates that melanoma tumors have more mutations because of sun exposure or mechanisms of DNA repair that cause tumors to acquire more mutations.
In order to determine if the mutations are significant or not, Magliocco says, a molecular biologist looks to see if the mutations occur on an important gene, the mutation is impacting a function of the protein, or if the mutation biologically makes sense to cause the tumor to grow.