Nanomedicine 2017 04 18;13(3):821-828. Epub 2016 Dec 18.
Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114.
This study evaluates μNMR technology for molecular profiling of tumor fine needle aspirates and peripheral blood of melanoma patients. In vitro assessment of melanocyte (MART-1, HMB45) and MAP kinase signaling (pERK, pS6K) molecule expression was performed in human cell lines, while clinical validation was performed in an IRB-approved study of melanoma patients undergoing biopsy and blood sampling. Tumor FNA and blood specimens were compared with BRAF genetic analysis and cross-sectional imaging. μNMR in vitro analysis showed increased expression of melanocyte markers in melanoma cells as well as increased expression of phosphorylated MAP kinase targets in BRAF-mutant melanoma cells. Melanoma patient FNA samples showed increased pERK and pS6K levels in BRAF mutant compared with BRAF WT melanomas, with μNMR blood circulating tumor cell level increased with higher metastatic burden visible on imaging. These results indicate that μNMR technology provides minimally invasive point-of-care evaluation of tumor signaling and metastatic burden in melanoma patients.