Background: why do we need a blood test for metastatic melanoma?
Malignant melanoma is an aggressive skin cancer arising from the melanocytes. For many patients, the appearance of metastatic disease occurs (sometimes years) after apparently curative surgical excision of primary lesions. In others, presentation occurs with metastatic disease. In either case, once the disease becomes unresectable and management becomes entirely medical, long-term survival is unusual. For many years, the medical management of metastatic melanoma was largely ineffective and the prognosis of advanced disease was accordingly poor, with survival after diagnosis of visceral and/or CNS metastases typically being only a few months.