Send to

Choose Destination
Br J Dermatol. 2015 Aug;173(2):428-35. doi: 10.1111/bjd.13853. Epub 2015 Jul 20.

The sensitivity and specificity of optical coherence tomography for the assisted diagnosis of nonpigmented basal cell carcinoma: an observational study.

Author information

Private Dermatology Office/CMB Collegium Medicum Berlin GmbH, Luisenstraße 54/55, 10117, Berlin, Germany.
Department of Dermatology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Department of Dermatology and Allergology, University Hospital Munich, Munich, Germany.
Private Dermatology Office, Freising, Germany.
Private Dermatology Office Prof Thomas Dirschka, Wuppertal, Germany.
Dermatology Center Bonn Friedensplatz, Bonn, Germany.
Department for Dermatology and Allergology, General Hospital Augsburg, Augsburg, Germany.



The diagnostic criteria for basal cell carcinoma (BCC) using optical coherence tomography (OCT) have been described previously, but the clinical value of these findings remains unknown.


To investigate the diagnostic value of OCT for BCC in a typical clinical setting. The primary efficacy end point was a diagnosis of BCC for each lesion. Secondary end points were the diagnosis of other possible conditions.


This was an observational, prospective, multicentre study in which consecutive patients with nonpigmented pink lesions suspicious for BCC underwent clinical assessment, dermoscopy and OCT, with the diagnosis recorded at each stage. Once all diagnoses had been recorded, the histological results were disclosed. In total 164 patients with 256 lesions were recruited. Histology was missing for 21 lesions, leaving 235 lesions in 155 patients for analysis.


Sixty per cent of lesions (141 of 235) were identified as BCC by histology. A slight increase of sensitivity was noted following OCT, which did not reach statistical significance. The specificity increased significantly from 28·6% by clinical assessment to 54·3% using dermoscopy and to 75·3% with the addition of OCT (P < 0·001). The positive predictive value for the diagnosis of BCC using OCT was 85·2% [95% confidence interval (CI) 78·6-90·4], and the negative predictive value was 92·1% (95% CI 83·6-97·0). The accuracy of diagnosis for all lesions increased from 65·8% with clinical evaluation to 76·2% following additional dermoscopy and to 87·4% with the addition of OCT.


OCT significantly improved the diagnostic specificity for BCC compared with clinical assessment and dermoscopy alone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center