FRIENDSWOOD, Texas, July 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Castle Biosciences Inc., a leading developer of diagnostic and prognostic tests for rare cancers, announced today the launch of ThymicCancer.com, a website created to educate patients, their families and healthcare providers about the two main types of this rare, and sometimes aggressive, cancer of the thymus gland.
ThymicCancer.comtells the story of the disease, its diagnosis and treatment, and the availability of new genomic information that can help differentiate thymic carcinoma from thymoma, and importantly, predict the likelihood of thymoma spreading to other organs.
For patients with a confirmed diagnosis of thymic cancer, treatment usually includes surgery to remove the tumor, followed by radiation and/or chemotherapy. However, for the 90% of these patients who are diagnosed with thymoma, the risk of the cancer spreading varies widely. The activity of certain genes in thymoma tumors has been shown to predict whether the cancer is likely to metastasize, information that can directly impact treatment decisions. A thymoma patient with a low risk of metastasis, for example, may be counseled to forgo initial chemotherapy and radiation in order to avoid toxicities and save these therapies for use if metastasis does occur.
"While only 10% of thymomas are metastatic at the time of primary diagnosis, we know that for some patients it becomes metastatic after treatment," said Derek Maetzold, President and CEO of Castle Biosciences. "The ability to accurately predict metastatic risk in these patients is critical in determining the most appropriate treatment path, especially given the limited predictive value of currently available staging methods."
The genomic information contained within the thymic tumor is analyzed by a gene expression profile test called DecisionDx-Thymoma. The unique gene signature revealed by the test stratifies metastatic risk as either Class 1 (3% risk within 5-10 years) or Class 2 (70% risk over 5 years; 87% over 10 years). In clinical studies, the gene test was shown to be more accurate in predicting metastasis than the methods currently available to doctors.
The test has also been shown to provide objective confirmation between diagnosis of thymic carcinoma and thymoma.
Data Published on Accuracy of Gene Expression Testing in Thymoma
Data from a validation study of DecisionDx-Thymoma were published this week in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE. Researchers from Indiana University reported results showing that the biological information provided by the gene test predicts risk for metastasis in thymoma patients more accurately than all currently available staging methods. The paper can be accessed at ThymicCancer.com
About Thymic Cancer
Cancer of the thymus occurs when thymic cells mutate and begin to grow uncontrollably. There are two main types of thymic cancer: thymoma and thymic carcinoma. Though it accounts for 90% of cases, thymoma is quite rare with about 500 people diagnosed in the United States per year. The cause of thymic cancer is not well understood, but it appears to be most common in adults between the ages of 40 and 70.
About Castle Biosciences
Castle Biosciences Inc. is a molecular diagnostics and prognostics company dedicated to helping patients and their physicians make the best possible decisions about their treatment and follow-up care based on the individual molecular signature of their tumor. The Company currently offers prognostic tests for patients with rare cancers including uveal melanoma, cutaneous melanoma, thymoma, esophageal and brain cancers. More information can be found at www.castlebiosciences.com.
SOURCE Castle Biosciences Inc.