RCM accurately diagnoses skin tumors

September 24, 2012

Reflectance confocal microscopy is a valuable noninvasive tool for diagnosing basal cell carcinoma and melanoma, and may dramatically reduce unnecessary excisions of benign lesions, according to a recent study.

Sydney - Reflectance confocal microscopy is a valuable noninvasive tool for diagnosing basal cell carcinoma and melanoma, and may dramatically reduce unnecessary excisions of benign lesions, according to a recent study.

Researchers analyzed the characteristics of a large series of melanocytic and nonmelanocytic lesions from patients treated at the Sydney Melanoma Diagnostic Centre in Australia and the University of Modena in Italy using reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM). The researchers aimed to define a model for accurately diagnosing basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and melanoma, and to compare it with previously published methods of confocal diagnosis.

Examining 710 skin lesions using RCM imaging, researchers found the diagnostic accuracy of the BCC algorithm achieved a sensitivity of 100 percent and a specificity of 88.5 percent. The diagnostic accuracy of the melanoma algorithm achieved a sensitivity of 87.6 percent and a specificity of 70.8 percent. When considering all skin cancers (BCC, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma), their clinical model achieved a sensitivity of 91.5 percent.

“Particular features of different subtypes of BCCs have not been addressed in our series, and more research should be directed to confirm if RCM is a particularly valuable tool on difficult subtypes of BCCs, such as infiltrative ones,” the authors concluded. The study was reported in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

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