LabCorp Is Focusing on Skin Cancer with New Test

The Burlington, NC-based company’s melanoma test determines the level of expression of the lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG-3).

Katie Pfaff

May 23, 2022

2 Min Read
Image Courtesy of Sundry Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

Diagnostics and life sciences giant, LabCorp, has added a melanoma test to its offerings to potentially aid physicians in treatment decisions. The assay test determines the level of expression of the lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG-3) associated with melanoma. Understanding the degree of LAG-3 expression can help to guide patient treatment in clinical trials or toward certain treatment regimens.

Targeted treatment options

The test is designed to look for the LAG-3 biomarker and its level of gene expression in tumor cells. Expression is determined through tumor immunohistochemistry. The LAG-3 gene is considered a target for oncological immunotherapies.

“Our goal is to provide diagnostic solutions that can help guide the clinical application of new cancer treatments, improving the lives of those living with cancer,” said Prasanth Reddy, MD, MPH, senior vice president and head of oncology at LabCorp in a release. “The LAG-3 IHC assay provides physicians with actionable information to evaluate the best treatment options, including newly approved treatments and clinical trials for their patients.”

Prevalence of skin cancer and melanoma

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. While basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are more common than melanoma, the disease poses greater risk for death. The American Cancer Society reports that melanoma makes up only 1% of skin cancer cases but carries an outsized portion of deaths due to skin cancer. Changes to the skin like moles or marks that have shifted in color, border, grown larger, or have an unusual edge could indicate a malignancy; the screening criteria are referred to as “ABCDE” for asymmetrical, border, color, diameter, and evolving.

The immunohistochemistry test was borne out of a clinical trial need for an assay that would identify expression of LAG-3 in a tumor’s immune cells. The trial was exploring dual checkpoint inhibitors, one of which included a LAG-3-targeting immunotherapeutic. According to the research, published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology, the LAG-3 assay can elucidate the link between gene expression and likelihood of response to targeted therapy. The test continues to be used in additional research on treatments that are directed toward LAG-3.

LabCorp operates in more than 100 countries, employs more than 75,000, and reported its 2021 fiscal year revenue at $16 billion.

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