Surprising variability in melanoma diagnostic findings

Although pathologists are likely to agree when evaluating skin biopsies that are benign or highly malignant, they often disagree when lesions fall into intermediate categories, new research finds. Pathologists’ diagnostic interpretations of melanoma in situ and early stage invasive melanoma – categories that are not well characterized – were neither reproducible nor accurate. And this may be creating the potential for both overdiagnosis and underdiagnosis of melanoma, according to the new study with two OHSU … Read More

Mole Mapper brings open data for cancer research

A new report in Nature Scientific Data explains how researchers can access and use the growing trove of data coming from users of Mole Mapper, a mobile app for tracking suspicious nevi.   Mole Mapper gives users the option to contribute to melanoma research by sharing anonymous images that show how moles evolve over time, potentially advancing toward malignancy. Investigators with Institutional Review Board oversight can access this user-generated data. More than 11,000 users have downloaded the … Read More

What to make of smart machines that may soon outperform doctors

Artificial neural networks are getting really good at identifying skin cancer The first artificial intelligence to solve scientific problems debuted in 1967, when it proved capable of deducing molecular structures from mass spectrometry data. Now, of course, we have AIs that trounce “Jeopardy!” champions and chess grandmasters. And this week the machines ticked off a victory in the field of medicine: identifying melanomas and malignant carcinomas as accurately as expert humans, according to a report in the … Read More

The ‘Cancer translated’ blog top ten posts of 2016

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s “Cancer translated” blog explores new findings, ideas and debates in cancer medicine, from basic biology, to clinical trials, to prevention, survivorship and patient advocacy. We sorted a year’s worth of posts to find the most heavily trafficked reports. Here’s the top 10 in order of popularity:

Ambiguous breast biopsies often “overinterpreted”

Pathologists’ tendency to overinterpret breast biopsies may be contributing to the problem of breast cancer overdiagnosis.

Immune signature in blood could enable earlier detection of pancreatic cancer

Less than one in ten cases of pancreatic cancer in the U.S. are diagnosed at the local stage. And the relative survival rate — around 6 percent at five years — is by far the worst among major cancers. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and the Swedish biotech firm Immunovia AG recently announced a collaboration to develop blood tests that could enable earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

Tracking metastasis with cell-free DNA

Sequencing the fragments of tumor DNA that circulate in blood may give a more accurate picture of a patient’s metastatic cancer than can be obtained from biopsies. Researchers at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute recently showed that sequencing cell-free DNA can find the same clinically relevant mutations identified in DNA from tumor tissue, and it can provide additional information about the evolution of a particular patient’s disease and how best to treat it. That’s significant … Read More

Targeting leukemia with drug combinations

Targeting leukemia with drug combinations

Cancer researchers have devised a way to rapidly screen combinations of drugs to identify pairs of agents most likely to work synergistically against some of the most difficult to treat forms of leukemia.