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Dermatology. 2004;208(1):27-31.

Three-point checklist of dermoscopy. A new screening method for early detection of melanoma.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.



Dermoscopy used by experts has been demonstrated to improve the diagnostic accuracy for melanoma. However, little is known about the diagnostic validity of dermoscopy when used by nonexperts.


To evaluate the diagnostic performance of nonexperts using a new 3-point checklist based on a simplified dermoscopic pattern analysis.


Clinical and dermoscopic images of 231 clinically equivocal and histopathologically proven pigmented skin lesions were examined by 6 nonexperts and 1 expert in dermoscopy. For each lesion the nonexperts assessed 3 dermoscopic criteria (asymmetry, atypical network and blue-white structures) constituting the 3-point method. In addition, all examiners made an overall diagnosis by using standard pattern analysis of dermoscopy.


Asymmetry, atypical network and blue-white structures were shown to be reproducible dermoscopic criteria, with a kappa value ranging from 0.52 to 0.55. When making the overall diagnosis, the expert had 89.6% sensitivity for malignant lesions (tested on 68 melanomas and 9 pigmented basal cell carcinomas), compared to 69.7% sensitivity achieved by the nonexperts. Remarkably, the sensitivity of the nonexperts using the 3-point checklist reached 96.3%. The specificity of the expert using overall diagnosis was 94.2% compared to 82.8 and 32.8% achieved by the nonexperts using overall diagnosis and 3-point checklist, respectively.


The 3-point checklist is a valid and reproducible dermoscopic algorithm with high sensitivity for the diagnosis of melanoma in the hands of non-experts. Thus it may be applied as a screening procedure for the early detection of melanoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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