No consensus guidelines exist on the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT) for diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma. The objectives of this review are to provide a descriptive review of the literature on characteristics of cutaneous melanomas seen on high-definition OCT (HD-OCT), speckle variance OCT (SV-OCT), and conventional OCT and to compare their diagnostic ability with that of histopathology. A review of PubMed and Google Scholar identified all available literature on OCT in melanoma skin cancer that included all in vivo and ex vivo studies on human or human tissues and excluded all studies on non-human subjects or animal studies. Two hundred nine abstracts were considered for evaluation, 31 abstracts were selected for manuscript review, and 14 abstracts were included that met all criteria. Diagnoses of MIS and MM using HD-OCT and SV-OCT were consistently reported to correlate with histopathology. However, accuracy of diagnosis using conventional OCT varied. Most authors agreed that it was difficult to differentiate MM from benign nevi using conventional OCT. HD-OCT, SV-OCT, and conventional OCT show promise for visualizing cutaneous melanoma. The use of OCT in diagnosis of melanoma is rarely reported in the literature. There is a need to increase and standardize reporting of OCT for diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Guy GP Jr, Thomas CC, Thompson T, Watson M, Massetti GM, Richardson LC (2015) Vital signs: melanoma incidence and mortality trends and projections - United States, 1982-2030. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 64:591–596
Surveillance E, and End Results (SEER) Program (2017) Cancer Stat Facts: Melanoma of the Skin (1975-2015). National Cancer Institute
Kent MN, Olsen TG, Feeser TA, Tesno KC, Moad JC, Conroy MP, Kendrick MJ, Stephenson SR, Murchland MR, Khan AU, Peacock EA, Brumfiel A, Bottomley MA (2017) Diagnostic accuracy of virtual pathology vs traditional microscopy in a large dermatopathology study. JAMA Dermatol 153:1285–1291
Nischal U, Nischal KC, Khopkar U (2008) Techniques of skin biopsy and practical considerations. J Cutan Aesthet Surg 1:107–111
Sattler E, Kästle R, Welzel J (2013) Optical coherence tomography in dermatology. J Biomed Opt 18:061224
Fercher AF, Mengedoht K, Werner W (1988) Eye-length measurement by interferometry with partially coherent light. Opt Lett 13:186–188
Huang D, Swanson EA, Lin CP, Schuman JS, Stinson WG, Chang W, Hee MR, Flotte T, Gregory K, Puliafito CA et al (1991) Optical coherence tomography. Science 254:1178–1181
Olsen J, Themstrup L, Jemec GB (2015) Optical coherence tomography in dermatology. G Ital Dermatol Venereol 150:603–615
Calin MA, Parasca SV, Savastru R, Calin MR, Dontu S (2013) Optical techniques for the noninvasive diagnosis of skin cancer. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 139:1083–1104
Marghoob AA, Swindle LD, Moricz CZ, Sanchez Negron FA, Slue B, Halpern AC, Kopf AW (2003) Instruments and new technologies for the in vivo diagnosis of melanoma. J Am Acad Dermatol 49:777–797 quiz 798–779
Gallwas JK, Turk L, Stepp H, Mueller S, Ochsenkuehn R, Friese K, Dannecker C (2011) Optical coherence tomography for the diagnosis of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. Lasers Surg Med 43:206–212
Kirtane TS, Wagh MS (2014) Endoscopic optical coherence tomography (OCT): advances in gastrointestinal imaging. Gastroenterol Res Pract 2014:376367
DeCoro M, Wilder-Smith P (2010) Potential of optical coherence tomography for early diagnosis of oral malignancies. Expert Rev Anticancer Ther 10:321–329
Wang J, Xu Y, Boppart SA (2017) Review of optical coherence tomography in oncology. J Biomed Opt 22:1–23
Boone MA, Suppa M, Dhaenens F, Miyamoto M, Marneffe A, Jemec GB, Del Marmol V, Nebosis R (2016) In vivo assessment of optical properties of melanocytic skin lesions and differentiation of melanoma from non-malignant lesions by high-definition optical coherence tomography. Arch Dermatol Res 308:7–20
Boone MA, Norrenberg S, Jemec GB, Del Marmol V (2014) High-definition optical coherence tomography imaging of melanocytic lesions: a pilot study. Arch Dermatol Res 306:11–26
De Carvalho N, Ciardo S, Cesinaro AM, Jemec G, Ulrich M, Welzel J, Holmes J, Pellacani G (2016) In vivo micro-angiography by means of speckle-variance optical coherence tomography (SV-OCT) is able to detect microscopic vascular changes in naevus to melanoma transition. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 30:e67–e68
de Giorgi V, Stante M, Massi D, Mavilia L, Cappugi P, Carli P (2005) Possible histopathologic correlates of dermoscopic features in pigmented melanocytic lesions identified by means of optical coherence tomography. Exp Dermatol 14:56–59
Gambichler T, Schmid-Wendtner MH, Plura I, Kampilafkos P, Stücker M, Berking C, Maier T (2015) A multicentre pilot study investigating high-definition optical coherence tomography in the differentiation of cutaneous melanoma and melanocytic naevi. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 29:537–541
Gambichler T, Plura I, Schmid-Wendtner M, Valavanis K, Kulichova D, Stücker M, Pljakic A, Berking C, Maier T (2015) High-definition optical coherence tomography of melanocytic skin lesions. J Biophotonics 8:681–686
Gambichler T, Regeniter P, Bechara FG, Orlikov A, Vasa R, Moussa G, Stücker M, Altmeyer P, Hoffmann K (2007) Characterization of benign and malignant melanocytic skin lesions using optical coherence tomography in vivo. J Am Acad Dermatol 57:629–637
Hinz T, Ehler LK, Voth H, Fortmeier I, Hoeller T, Hornung T, Schmid-Wendtner MH (2011) Assessment of tumor thickness in melanocytic skin lesions: comparison of optical coherence tomography, 20-MHz ultrasound and histopathology. Dermatology 223:161–168
Markowitz O, Schwartz M, Minhas S, Siegel DM (2016) Speckle-variance optical coherence tomography: a novel approach to skin cancer characterization using vascular patterns. Dermatol Online Journal 22
Meyer N, Lauwers-Cances V, Lourari S, Laurent J, Konstantinou MP, Lagarde JM, Krief B, Batatia H, Lamant L, Paul C (2014) High-frequency ultrasonography but not 930-nm optical coherence tomography reliably evaluates melanoma thickness in vivo: a prospective validation study. Br J Dermatol 171:799–805
Moraes Pinto Blumetti TC, Cohen MP, Gomes EE, Petaccia de Macedo M, Ferreira de Souza Begnami MD, Tavares Guerreiro Fregnani JH, Duprat JP, Pellacani G, Rezze GG (2015) Optical coherence tomography (OCT) features of nevi and melanomas and their association with intraepidermal or dermal involvement: a pilot study. J Am Acad Dermatol 73:315–317
Oliveira A, Arzberger E, Massone C, Carrera C, Zalaudek I (2016) Verrucous melanoma simulating melanoacanthoma: dermoscopic, reflectance confocal microscopic and high-definition optical coherence tomography presentation of a rare melanoma variant. Australas J Dermatol 57:72–73
Welzel J, Lankenau E, Birngruber R, Engelhardt R (1997) Optical coherence tomography of the human skin. J Am Acad Dermatol 37:958–963
Wessels R, de Bruin DM, Relyveld GN, Faber DJ, Vincent AD, Sanders J, van Leeuwen TG, Ruers TJ (2015) Functional optical coherence tomography of pigmented lesions. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 29:738–744
Welzel J, Lankenau E, Birngruber R, Engelhardt R (1998) Optical coherence tomography of the skin. Curr Probl Dermatol 26:27–37
Bataille V (2009) Early detection of melanoma improves survival. Practitioner 253(29–32):3
Voss RK, Woods TN, Cromwell KD, Nelson KC, Cormier JN (2015) Improving outcomes in patients with melanoma: strategies to ensure an early diagnosis. Patient Relat Outcome Meas 6:229–242
Menge TD, Pellacani G (2016) Advances in noninvasive imaging of melanoma. Semin Cutan Med Surg 35:18–24
Mogensen M, Thrane L, Jørgensen TM, Andersen PE, Jemec GB (2009) OCT imaging of skin cancer and other dermatological diseases. J Biophotonics 2:442–451
Goodson AG, Grossman D (2009) Strategies for early melanoma detection: approaches to the patient with nevi. J Am Acad Dermatol 60:719–735 quiz 736–738
Smith L, Macneil S (2011) State of the art in non-invasive imaging of cutaneous melanoma. Skin Res Technol 17:257–269
Schuh S, Holmes J, Ulrich M, Themstrup L, Jemec GBE, De Carvalho N, Pellacani G, Welzel J (2017) Imaging blood vessel morphology in skin: dynamic optical coherence tomography as a novel potential diagnostic tool in dermatology. Dermatol Ther 7:187–202
Rigel DS, Russak J, Friedman R (2010) The evolution of melanoma diagnosis: 25 years beyond the ABCDs. CA Cancer J Clin 60:301–316
Patel JK, Konda S, Perez OA, Amini S, Elgart G, Berman B (2008) Newer technologies/techniques and tools in the diagnosis of melanoma. Eur J Dermatol 18:617–631
Ulrich M, Themstrup L, de Carvalho N, Manfredi M, Grana C, Ciardo S, Kästle R, Holmes J, Whitehead R, Jemec GB, Pellacani G, Welzel J (2016) Dynamic optical coherence tomography in dermatology. Dermatology 232:298–311
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This review is in compliance with ethical standards.
Not applicable to this review article.
About this article
Cite this article
Rajabi-Estarabadi, A., Bittar, J.M., Zheng, C. et al. Optical coherence tomography imaging of melanoma skin cancer. Lasers Med Sci 34, 411–420 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10103-018-2696-1
- Optical coherence tomography
- Skin cancer