Effective New Non-Invasive Detection Method for Melanoma Found

Doppler system correctly identified 100% of patients with malignant skin cancer.

Doppler system correctly identified 100% of patients with malignant skin cancer.

Oftentimes a biopsy is required in order for doctors to properly diagnose someone with malignant melanoma. However, a new study revealed a non-invasive technique to properly diagnose malignant melanoma in patients with skin cancer.

The study was led by scientists at Lancaster University and Pisa University in Italy. During the study, 55 patients with atypical moles agreed to have their skin monitored by researchers at Pisa University Hospital using a laser Doppler system.

The laser Doppler system recorded the interactions taking place in the minute blood vessels beneath the moles for approximately 30 minutes. The fluctuations within the recording were then evaluated using methods developed by physicists at Lancaster University.

After patients were subjected to the laser Doppler system, they then went on to have their moles biopsied and the results were compared with the information originally obtained through the Doppler system.

The results of the study were staggering as the laser Doppler system correctly identified 100% of patients with malignant skin cancer.

“We used our knowledge of blood flow dynamics to pick upon markers which were consistently different in the blood vessels supplying malignant moles and those beneath normal skin,” said Professor Aneta Stefanovska of Lancaster University. “Combining the new dynamical biomarkers we created a test which, based on the number of subjects tested to date, has 100% sensitivity and 90.9% specificity, which means that melanoma is identified in all cases where it is present, and ruled out in 90.9% of cases where it is not.”

The newly developed laser Doppler system offers doctors a non-invasive alternative to traditional diagnosis of malignant melanoma. Patients with skin cancer can now look forward to a more simple and accurate alternative to skin biopsies.

“Skin malignant melanoma is a particularly aggressive cancer associated with quick blood vessel growth which means early diagnosis is vital for a good prognosis,” said Professor Marco Rossi of Pisa University. “The current diagnostic tools of examination by doctors followed by biopsy inevitably leads to many unnecessary invasive excisions.”