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Karl D. Lewis, MD


Exploring Noninvasive Imaging Techniques to Enhance Early Skin Cancer Diagnostics

By: Jenna Carter, PhD
Posted: Thursday, August 4, 2022

A recent review article published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology highlighted the efficacy of noninvasive diagnostic tools used to detect cancerous skin lesions in their early stages. Giovanni Pellacani, MD, PhD, of the University of Rome, and Giuseppe Argenziano, MD, PhD, of the University of Campania, Naples, discussed the use of different high-resolution noninvasive imaging techniques to identify and monitor early signs of skin cancer. They also discussed whether using the the Youdermoscopy mobile application might improve diagnostic skills and thus enhance the dermoscopic recognition of sun-induced skin tumors.

“In the first part of this article, we provide a brief overview of skin defense mechanisms against solar damage and photocarcinogenesis, and of the photoaging processes. We then describe the signs of photoaging that can be observed using noninvasive imaging techniques…,” stated Dr. Pellacani and Dr. Argenziano.

Sun exposure leads to photoaging and photocarcinogenesis, which are balanced by DNA repair and photoprotection defense mechanisms. The authors proposed a model in which skin aging manifestations could be classified according to subject-specific sun-damage reaction profiles observed by reflectance confocal microscopy and optical coherence tomography. The photoaging profiles included an atrophic phenotype characterized by actinic keratosis and a hypertrophic phenotype characterized by hyperplastic pigmented skin.

Based on their model, they found that those phenotypes may be predictive of predispositions to different types of skin cancer, with squamous cell carcinoma for the atrophic phenotype and lentigo maligna and freckles for the hypertrophic phenotype. They also concluded that using the Youdermoscopy mobile application to train users to discriminate the different types of skin lesions might lead to further improvements in the diagnostic process.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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