Background: Clinical diagnosis of early melanoma (Breslow thickness less than 0.8 mm) is crucial to disease-free survival. However, it is subjective and can be exceedingly difficult, leading to missed melanomas, or unnecessary excision of benign pigmented skin lesions. An objective technique is needed to improve the diagnosis of early melanoma. Methods: We have developed a method to improve diagnosis of (thin) melanoma, based on Raman spectroscopy. In an ex vivo study in a tertiary referral (pigmented lesions) centre, high-wavenumber Raman spectra were collected from 174 freshly excised melanocytic lesions suspicious for melanoma. Measurements were performed on multiple locations within the lesions. A diagnostic model was developed and validated on an independent data set of 96 lesions. Results: Approximately 60% of the melanomas included in this study were melanomas in situ. The invasive melanomas had an average Breslow thickness of 0.89 mm. The diagnostic model correctly classified all melanomas (including in situ) with a specificity of 43.8%, and showed a potential improvement of the number needed to treat from 6.0 to 2.7, at a sensitivity of 100%. Conclusion: This work signifies an important step towards accurate and objective clinical diagnosis of melanoma and in particular melanoma with Breslow thickness <0.8 mm.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-018-0257-9, hdl.handle.net/1765/112121
Journal British Journal of Cancer
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Citation
P. Santos, I. (Inês), van Doorn, R. (Remco), Caspers, P.J, Bakker Schut, T.C, Barroso, E.M, Nijsten, T.E.C, … Puppels, G.J. (2018). Improving clinical diagnosis of early-stage cutaneous melanoma based on Raman spectroscopy. British Journal of Cancer. doi:10.1038/s41416-018-0257-9