Dr. Luke on Predictive Versus Prognostic Biomarkers in Melanoma

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Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>UPMC Hillman Cancer Center</b>

Jason J. Luke, MD, FACP, compares predictive and prognostic biomarkers in melanoma.

Jason J. Luke, MD, FACP, an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology and director of the Cancer Immunotherapeutics Center Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Hillman Cancer Center, compares predictive and prognostic biomarkers in melanoma.

The concept of biomarkers is important in all areas of oncology, but is especially relevant in the field of melanoma, explains Luke. Prognostic biomarkers can indicate how well a patient is going to do over time, whereas predictive biomarkers are commonly linked to an available therapeutic approach, Luke says.

In some cases, biomarkers can be prognostic and predictive, Luke explains. For example, in melanoma, BRAF mutations indicate poor prognosis but are also predictive of the treatment effect of a BRAF inhibitor, says Luke. Conversely, in lung cancer, EGFR mutations predict better prognosis and suggest that a patient is likely to respond to an EGFR inhibitor. It’s important to understand these differences in biomarkers so that patients may derive the optimal benefit from more individualized therapy, Luke concludes.