Detecting Thyroid Cancer Faster Than Ever

High resolution melting analysis detects papillary thyroid cancer rapidly

(RxWiki News) Just because something is fast does not mean it may be worthwhile. A new imaging technique for thyroid cancer is not only fast but accurate and cost-effective.

Researchers have developed the High Resolution Melting (HRM) analysis to detect papillary thyroid cancer during surgery. Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type of thyroid cancer.

"If you notice swelling around your neck, consult with a physician."

Researchers have developed HRM analysis to detect a biological indicator of thyroid cancer, the BRAF V600 gene. When a mass is discovered in the neck or swelling in the lymph nodes, a sample of the possible cancerous tissue is removed during a biopsy. This tissue is then tested to determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant. If it is malignant, further testing is needed to determine the type of thyroid cancer.

HRM analysis can be completed in under one hour. Normal testing requires a doctor to purify the DNA to remove any possible contamination. The purified DNA is then sequenced and separated into parts and analyzed. HRM analysis eliminates the need to purify and sequence DNA.

HRM analysis works by homogenizing, or making each part of the sample the same, the removed thyroid tissue. The DNA sequence is then washed and a Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is used to identify BRAF V600. A PCR is a technique that individually targets a specific type of gene.

Researchers Jun Hee Park and G. Park from Chosun University Hospital, Republic of Korea, compared HRM analysis to two other alternate methods of identifying BRAF V600 using purified DNA. HRM analysis detected BRAF V600 in 58 out of 96 samples or approximately 60 percent of all samples. The two other types of analysis had similar results.

For Park and Park, these results are beneficial because it reduces the amount of time needed for a surgical procedure. This reduced time provides convenience for the patient and a cheaper way to detect thyroid cancer.

These results were presented at the 81st Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association.

Research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Review Date: 
October 28, 2011