Detection of melanomas in patients followed up with total cutaneous examinations, total cutaneous photography, and dermoscopy

Steven Q Wang, Alfred W Kopf, Karen Koenig, David Polsky, Kira Nudel, Robert S Bart
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2004, 50 (1): 15-20

BACKGROUND: Many factors have been identified as important determinants that increase the risk of malignant melanoma (MM) developing. Patients with classic atypical mole syndrome (CAMS) have multiple such factors and are known to be at high risk for MMs developing.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to evaluate the risk for newly diagnosed MMs developing in patients with CAMS and in a heterogeneous group of patients at high risk (ie, those with high-risk non-CAMS [HRNCAMS]) who had 1 or more risk factors: personal history of nonmelanoma skin cancers; family history of melanoma; biopsy specimen-confirmed dysplastic nevi; and meeting 1 or 2 of the 3 CAMS criteria. We also aimed to report our experience treating these patients at high risk with annual total cutaneous examination, total cutaneous photography, and dermoscopy.

METHODS: Consecutive medical records from a private dermatology practice were reviewed. A total of 258 patients were selected who fulfilled the criteria of having: (1) total cutaneous photography as an aid for follow-up; (2) total cutaneous examination at least once per year; (3) at least 6 months of clinical follow-up; and (4) no personal history of melanomas. A total of 160 patients with CAMS and 98 with HRNCAMS were included in this study. The 10-year risk for MM developing in these 2 cohorts was computed using the Kaplan-Meier method.

RESULTS: In the CAMS cohort, 28 new MMs developed in 19 patients resulting in a cumulative 10-year risk of 14% (95% confidence interval: 7-20). In the HRNCAMS cohort, 10 new MMs developed in 9 patients, and the cumulative 10-year risk was 10% (95% confidence interval: 2-17). The difference between the 2 groups was not statistically significant (P=.91). The MMs diagnosed in both cohorts were either in situ or less than 1 mm in Breslow thickness. There were no MM metastases or MM-related deaths in either cohort during a mean follow-up period of 120 months for the CAMS and 98 months for the HRNCAMS group.

CONCLUSION: Both the patients with CAMS and HRNCAMS were at very high risk for MMs developing. The combination of total cutaneous photography, total cutaneous examination, and dermoscopy were used in treating our patients. No MM 1 mm or greater in thickness developed during follow-up in either group.

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