Dr. Meltzer uses cutting-edge technologies to analyze the abnormalities in genome structure and function that occur in cancers. These methods include various types of microarray analyses, which allow him to scan the entire genome and examine how genes that cause cancer start tumor progression and affect whether a tumor spreads to other parts of the body. He and his colleagues are refining the classification of cancers, increasing our understanding of how cancer develops at a cellular level, and identifying new targets for potential anticancer therapy.
His most recent work has focused on sarcoma, breast cancer, and melanoma. Examining different sarcoma cell lines using microarray analysis revealed a set of genes with significantly different expression patterns in cells with high versus low metastatic potential. The use of similar technologies revealed diagnostic and predictive outcome patterns in breast cancer cells, and identified a genetic pattern associated with estrogen receptor expression in breast cancers. Distinct gene-expression profiles were associated with mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, both known breast cancer genes. Dr. Meltzer's laboratory has also found mutations in the BRAF and NRAS genes in melanoma cell lines, as well as BRAF mutations in benign melanocytic lesions. These findings suggest that BRAF mutations play a role in early melanoma tumor progression.
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Last Updated: September 1, 2011