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Arch Dermatol. 2002 May;138(5):617-21.

Pathology review of cases presenting to a multidisciplinary pigmented lesion clinic.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To determine if pathology review, within the context of a multidisciplinary pigmented lesion clinic, results in changes in diagnosis of melanocytic lesions and to ascertain if the change in diagnosis altered clinical management and outcome.

METHODS:

Retrospective review of pathology reports, progress notes, and diagnoses entered in the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) Pigmented Lesion Clinic database.

RESULTS:

A total of 5136 primary melanocytic lesions from patients referred to the pigmented lesion clinic between 1991 and 1999 were reviewed by a single pathologist. Of these, 559 (11%) had diagnoses that were changed significantly from the submitting diagnosis, with 120 (2.3%) undergoing a "critical" revision, 63 (1.2%) defined as a change from malignant to benign, and 57 (1.1%) from benign to malignant; 171 (3.3%) remained within the same category (benign or malignant) but had a downgrade in diagnosis (less severe) that would have a significant impact on treatment, prognosis, and research. Likewise, 268 (5.2%) remained within the same category but had an upgrade in diagnosis (more severe) that would have a significant impact on the same parameters. In addition, 257 reexcisions of melanocytic lesions were reviewed, of which 15 (5.8%) were changed from clear to involved margins, while another 16 (6.2%) were changed from involved to clear margins, for a total of 12%. Of the lesions with a critical revision, follow-up was obtained in 98 (83%). The patients in the malignant-to-benign category were followed up for an average of 2.6 years while those in the benign-to-malignant category were followed up for an average of 4.2 years. The change of diagnosis from malignant to benign resulted in 9 patients (17%) being spared a reexcision while 12 patients (23%) were downgraded from a radical to moderate reexcision. The change in diagnosis from benign to malignant resulted in 45 patients (98%) requiring a reexcision after review. Twenty-five of these patients were found to have residual disease in their reexcision specimens or had already had recurrence at the excision site. Furthermore, 7 patients (15%) underwent lymph node dissection or sentinel lymph node biopsy after review. However, none of the nodes were positive for metastatic disease. During this time, 8 patients (17%) in the benign-to-malignant category, and 1 patient (1.9%) in the malignant-to-benign category (who had previously had 4 primary melanomas) developed metastatic disease.

CONCLUSIONS:

Pathology review of primary melanocytic lesions, within the context of a multidisciplinary pigmented lesion clinic, results in changes in diagnosis in a significant proportion of cases. These changes have important implications for clinical decision making, patient outcome, and research data collection.

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PMID:
12020222
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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