Metastases

My mother has been diagnosed with a cancer of unknown primary. What does this mean for her and her treatment?

Regular Process

The term ‘metastatic’ is used to describe cancers that have spread elsewhere in the body (e.g. lung, liver, bones). If patients have had more than one cancer in the past, histopathologists determine which one the metastatic disease arose from by comparing it with the original cancers and, where needed, confirming this by immunohistochemistry. Occasionally, however, there are so-called ‘cancers of unknown primary’ (CUPs). These metastatic cancers occur in instances where the primary cancer (the cancer that first formed) cannot be found (e.g. because very small, eradicated by the immune system or unknowingly removed during surgery for another condition). CUPs carry very high mortality rates, because the disease is advanced and no targeted therapy can be implemented until the specific cancer type is identified. 

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    Compare different cancer cells
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    Further immunohistochemistry tests
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    Identify therapy

4D Path Process

4D Path’s technology will be able to bypass much of this process insofar as it is collecting a record of image feature ‘signatures’ for each cancer type. This will enable us to offer an immediate diagnosis of the cancer type, thereby speeding up diagnosis, reducing the demands placed on both laboratory staff and histopathologists, reducing cost and, most importantly, resulting in faster, targeted treatment for patients.

Automated
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    Compare different cancer cells
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    Identify cancer specific signature
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    Identify best/targeted therapy
Metastatic cancer deposits can present a diagnostic challenge if patients have had more than one cancer, as histopathologists need to determine which one these have arisen from. This is typically done by comparing the metastatic cancer to the original ones and, if needed, confirming this by immunohistochemistry. 4D Path is developing a solution, which bypasses much of this process by operating on feature ‘signatures’ for each cancer type, therefore offering an immediate diagnosis of the cancer of origin. This is of great value in malignancies dubbed ‘cancers of unknown primary’ (i.e. in instances where the primary cancer is not identified) or when immunohistochemistry results are unhelpful. This speeds up the diagnostic process, reduces both laboratory and histopathologist involvement, and reduces cost.