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J Invest Dermatol. 2006 May;126(5):980-5.

Results from an observational trial: digital epiluminescence microscopy follow-up of atypical nevi increases the sensitivity and the chance of success of conventional dermoscopy in detecting melanoma.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Von Siebold Strasse 3, D-37075 Goettingen, Germany. h.haenssle@med.uni-goettingen.de


We analyzed the value of digital epiluminescence microscopy (DELM) for the long-term follow-up of atypical nevi. Patients (n=530) were prospectively categorized into defined melanoma risk groups and followed by clinical and epiluminescence microscopy (ELM) examinations. Atypical nevi (n=7001) were additionally followed by DELM. During follow-up (median 32.2 months), we detected 53 melanomas among 637 excised lesions (8.3% overall chance of success). The chance of success for melanoma detection among lesions suspicious by ELM criteria was increased to 17% when additional DELM-documented changes were present. Moreover, 18 of the 53 melanomas were exclusively identified by DELM-documented changes, indicating that DELM increased the sensitivity of the ELM analysis by identifying additional melanomas. However, for lesions exclusively excised due to DELM changes, the chance of success was lower than for ELM (5.2 vs 11.8%). Excisions due to mere DELM changes detected 66.7% of melanomas in familial atypical mole and multiple melanoma (FAMMM) and 32.5% of melanomas in atypical mole syndrome (AMS) patients. We conclude that DELM is a valuable tool for the long-term follow-up of atypical nevi, especially in the high-risk groups of FAMMM and AMS patients. Randomized controlled trials are needed to validate the data from this clinical trial.

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