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Early diagnosis of melanoma: less excision and cost savings thanks to a Unimore study

A cost savings of more than 200 thousand euros for each million people per year, and a reduction of over 50% of removals: this is the most relevant factual information arising from a Unimore study on early diagnosis of melanoma. The research shows a higher level of diagnostic accuracy of Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy (96%) compared to Dermoscopy (90%).

The data currently being published highlights the diagnostic performance on ambiguous wounds for the diagnosis of melanoma: sensitivity (ability to find melanoma): RCM=96% vs. Dermoscopy=90%; specificity (benign nevus even if suspected as melanoma): RCM=56% vs. Dermoscopy=38%.

“A percentage of 96% is extremely high in medicine, it means that the accuracy with which we identify the new technology - Professor Giovanni Pellacani, head of the Department of Dermatology of Unimore, states - is quick in terms of acquisition, as in just one or two minutes we are able to evaluate a wound at histological level.

Financed by the Ministry of Health, the research project examined three thousand instances (data has been collected on the first two thousand). Together with Unimore, IRCCS (Scientific Institute for Research, Hospitalisation and Healthcare) of Reggio Emilia and IRST (Romagna Scientific Institute for the Study and Treatment of Cancer) of Mendola also participated in the research. The study included two groups: one involving the use of dermoscopy alone, and the other also using the Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy.

Without confocal microscopy: 3 benign nevi removed to find a melanoma.
With confocal microscopy: 1.4 benign nevi removed to find a melanoma.
Removal percentage of benign nevi saved: 64%.

“This is the first time that such an accurate and challenging study is carried out as resources – Professor Pellacani explains – in this way we can remove less nevi and more melanomas with a high savings of 200 thousand euros per million of people for the national health system”.

General scenery

In the last years, using non invasive methods such as videodermatoscopy, has increased the diagnostic accuracy of skin melanoma diagnostics, giving the opportunity to identify those nevi that may look like simple nevi, but are in fact melanomas. Such diagnosis is done early enough to prevent the cancer from causing issues.
Non invasive diagnostics for skin wounds in humans in the last years has further evolved through diagnostic methods that are even more accurate and “scan” the nevus, thus allowing for an exact diagnosis. The most innovative methods include Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy, boasting a resolution capacity similar to the histological one that allows for an exact diagnosis both of a melanoma and a possible benign cancer, thus avoiding unnecessary surgical excision. Therefore patients only need to undergo an accurate examination of all nevi in the body, carried out by means of this technology: the screening will also prevent melanoma from being diagnosed too late.

Categorie: International - english

Articolo pubblicato da: Ufficio Stampa Unimore - ufficiostampa@unimore.it il 24/06/2019