Sequential Digital Dermoscopy Identifies Early Melanoma

Researchers find it detects incipient melanomas when they are still featureless

TUESDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Sequential digital dermoscopic monitoring can detect incipient melanomas when they are still featureless. But interpretation of changes observed during follow-up depends on the length of follow-up, according to a study in the September issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Harald Kittler, M.D., of the University of Vienna Medical School in Austria, and colleagues inspected baseline and follow-up images of 499 melanocytic skin lesions excised from 461 patients in Europe and Australia.

There was a histopathologic diagnosis of melanoma in 91 cases and of melanocytic nevus in 408 cases. After 1.5 to 4.5 months, 61.8 percent of the melanomas showed no specific dermoscopy features for melanoma, a value that declined to 45 percent after follow-up of 4.5 to 8.0 months and to 35.1 percent after more than eight months.

"To diagnose embryonic (incipient) melanoma, the use of sequential digital dermoscopic monitoring is currently the only technique with supportive literature," state the authors of an accompanying editorial. "In the absence of data supporting a contrary view, and for a condition in which early detection is paramount, it is difficult to dismiss identification of such lesions as having a non-therapeutic benefit. What seems clear is that both techniques [sequential digital dermoscopic monitoring and dermoscopy] are symbiotic for a strategy in detecting early melanoma."

Some authors are consultants for, or employees of, Polartechnics Ltd.

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