Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 307, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Optical coherence tomography in the diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma

  • Alia Arif HussainEmail author
  • Lotte Themstrup
  • Gregor Borut Ernst Jemec


Since its introduction in dermatology in the late 1990s optical coherence tomography (OCT) has been used to study many skin diseases, in particular non-melanoma skin cancer and it s precursors. Special attention has been paid to superficial basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and a number of smaller observational studies have been published. The diagnostic criteria for BCC of these studies are systematically reviewed. A systemic review of English language studies was performed using PubMed, Google Scholar and Royal Danish Library, to search for primary papers on OCT and BCC. The references of retrieved papers were searched by hand for further relevant papers. A total of 39 papers were identified (search date: 2014-01-15). 22 were excluded because they did not meet the inclusion criteria, leaving 17 papers for analysis. In 100 % of the studies, rounded dark structures in the upper dermis surrounded by a hyperreflective halo possibly surrounded by a hyporeflective border and disruption of epidermal layering were described. In 53 % of the reports a hyporeflective lateral tumour border was described. A range of other features were mentioned in a minority of the studies. It is suggested that these diagnostic criteria could be characteristic for identifying BCC lesions using OCT.


Optical coherence tomography High-definition optical coherence tomography Basal cell carcinoma Non-melanoma skin cancer Skin imaging Skin cancer 



The HD-OCT images were generously supplied by Dr. M.A.L.M Boone, Belgium. Conventional OCT images were kindly supplied by the ADVANCE project. The project has received funding from the European Union’s ICT Policy Support Programme as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme. This presentation reflects only the author’s views and the European Union is not liable for any use that might be made of information contained therein.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alia Arif Hussain
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lotte Themstrup
    • 1
  • Gregor Borut Ernst Jemec
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Dermatology, Roskilde HospitalUniversity of CopenhagenRoskildeDenmark

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