You have been diagnosed with melanoma, what now?

The Merlin Test may help your doctor in determining the best treatment plan for you.

Being diagnosed with skin cancer can be stressful and may lead to several questions. One of them could be “has my cancer spread to other parts of my body?”. The Merlin Test may help you in answering this question and may help in one of the first steps regarding clinical decision-making after your melanoma diagnosis.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy: discuss and consider?

One of the first steps that your physician will discuss with you is whether you will be referred for a sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB).

Currently, the SLNB is the standard of care to determine the clinical stage of a melanoma and serves as a gateway for access to adjuvant treatment options. The SLNB is a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia where a lymph node is removed and examined to determine if the cancer cells of your melanoma have already started to spread. In 80-85%1 of patients undergoing an SLNB, no cancer is detected and you may be exposed to a risk of surgery-related complications.2 Other factors that may impact your quality of life should also be taken into account: stress/anxiety, recovery time, time off from work etc.

The decision of undergoing the sentinel lymph node biopsy depends on your age and several risk factors, such as the thickness of your tumor and the presence of ulceration– evaluated by your physician based on national guidelines for SLNB surgery referral.3

The Merlin Test has been developed to determine if your melanoma has a low risk for spreading to your lymph nodes and you may therefore avoid the SLNB surgery.

The Merlin Test may help your doctor in determining the best treatment plan for you.

Each melanoma may behave differently and it is important to identify its behavior. The Merlin Test does this by determining how aggressive your melanoma is. In other words, the test will determine the risk that your melanoma has spread (or metastasized) to your lymph nodes. To do this, the Merlin Test looks into the biology of your tumor by analyzing 8 specific genes from your melanoma biopsy that directly correlate with the cancer’s potential to metastasize. By analyzing these genes in combination with your age and the thickness of your melanoma, the test will provide your personalized risk assessment. The Merlin Test may help your doctor in determining the best treatment plan for you.

How does the Merlin Test work?

The Merlin Test is performed on your primary biopsy tissue used to diagnose your melanoma. No additional tissue or sampling procedures are required to have the test performed. This means you do not need to undergo any additional procedure. Your doctor will have your biopsy tissue sent to be analyzed. Once the Merlin Test result is available, your doctor will be able to communicate the results with you and discuss further personalized treatment options.

What does your Merlin Test result mean?

Merlin test outcomes

Are you eligible for the Merlin Test?

You may be eligible for the Merlin Test if you are:

  • A newly diagnosed primary cutaneous melanoma patient
  • Eligible for sentinel lymph node biopsy according to national guidelines

Consult your doctor and discuss whether you are eligible for the Merlin Test.

  1. Morton DL, Thompson JF, Cochran AJ, et al. Final Trial Report of Sentinel-Node Biopsy versus Nodal Observation in Melanoma. N Engl J Med. 2014;370(7):599-609.
  2. Moody JA, Botham SJ, Dahill KE, Wallace DL, Hardwicke JT. Complications following completion lymphadenectomy versus therapeutic lymphadenectomy for melnaoma. A systematic review of the literature. EJSO 2017;43(2017):1760-1767.
  3. NCCN Guidelines 2022 Version 1