Background: The detection of melanoma poses a substantial challenge, particularly for primary care providers (PCPs) who may have limited training in discriminating between suspicious and benign melanocytic lesions. The noninvasive optical transfer diagnosis (OTD) method was designed to be used by PCPs in their decision-making process. Objectives: To assess the potential of the OTD method by developing, training and validating an OTD indication algorithm for automated discrimination between benign melanocytic lesions and malignant lesions, based on a set of 712 lesions. Methods: The authors performed in vivoOTD capture and subsequent analysis of 712 pigmented lesions. Of the lesions, 415 were clinically and dermoscopically benign and 297 were dermoscopically suspicious or equivocal. After image capture, all suspicious or equivocal lesions were biopsied and examined histopathologically. Results: Of the 297 suspicious or equivocal lesions, histopathological findings revealed 80 to be malignant (64 melanomas, 13 basal cell carcinomas and 3 squamous cell carcinomas). OTD misdiagnosed one of the 80 malignant lesions as benign (sensitivity, 99%). OTD specificity was 93% for the dermoscopically benign lesions, 73% for all lesions included in the study and 36% for the clinically suspicious but histopathologically benign lesions. Conclusions: High sensitivity and specificity, as provided by OTD in this preliminary study, would help PCPs reduce the number of referrals for dermatology consultation, excision or biopsy. Further studies are planned for screening patients in a primary care setting, with comparisons of OTD results with biopsy or dermoscopy results.
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