While studying a large group of individuals with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a Wilmot Cancer Institute scientific team made an important discovery — these patients had a sizable 600 percent higher risk of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
Although a higher risk of melanoma had been known, a full analysis of detection rates and treatments among CLL patients has never been reported before, said Clive Zent, M.D., who led the study. It was published by the journal Leukemia Research.
As a result of this new data, Zent, an international expert in CLL, recommends that all clinical teams who care for CLL patients should actively monitor for melanoma as a part of routine care. The goal is to catch the skin cancer early and manage it with the newest targeted therapies.
“We do not for sure know why CLL patients are more susceptible to melanoma, but the most likely cause is a suppressed immune system,” said Zent, a professor of Hematology/Oncology and Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Cancer and Wilmot. “Normally, in people with healthy immune systems, malignant skin cells might be detected and destroyed before they become a problem. But in CLL patients, failure
Article originally posted at