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Optical coherence tomography imaging of melanoma skin cancer


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.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Isabella Camacho.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This review is in compliance with ethical standards.

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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).

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  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Melanoma
  • Skin cancer
  • Diagnosis