Background: Current staging systems for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) have limited positive predictive value for identifying patients who will experience metastasis. Objective: To develop and validate a gene expression profile (GEP) test for predicting risk for metastasis in localized, high-risk cSCC with the goal of improving risk-directed patient management. Methods: Archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded primary cSCC tissue and clinicopathologic data (n = 586) were collected from 23 independent centers in a prospectively designed study. A GEP signature was developed using a discovery cohort (n = 202) and validated in a separate, nonoverlapping, independent cohort (n = 324). Results: A prognostic 40-GEP test was developed and validated, stratifying patients with high-risk cSCC into classes based on metastasis risk: class 1 (low risk), class 2A (high risk), and class 2B (highest risk). For the validation cohort, 3-year metastasis-free survival rates were 91.4%, 80.6%, and 44.0%, respectively. A positive predictive value of 60% was achieved for the highest-risk group (class 2B), an improvement over staging systems, and negative predictive value, sensitivity, and specificity were comparable to staging systems. Limitations: Potential understaging of cases could affect metastasis rate accuracy. Conclusion: The 40-GEP test is an independent predictor of metastatic risk that can complement current staging systems for patients with high-risk cSCC.
- cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
- gene expression profile
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