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Non-invasive diagnosis of melanoma

Melanomas have been diagnosed with high sensitivity and specificity by a non-invasive procedure involving NIR and skin impedance spectroscopy. Scientists in Sweden described in Skin Research and Technology how they combined the two procedures to merge the spectra, using multivariate analysis to separate healthy skin from diseased skin.

The joint technique was applied to patients with suspected melanoma skin tumours, dysplastic naevi and other benign naevi. Principal components analysis of the results discriminated between the different conditions and partial least squares discriminant analysis gave a sensitivity of 83% and specificity of 95% for malignant melanoma. The data also indicated that dysplastic naevi might be precancerous.

A senior dermatopathologist who examined the patients using accepted protocols, involving excision from the skin and tissue staining, agreed that the new method gave good agreement with the established procedure.