M.A. Calin, S.V. Parasca, R. Savastru, M.R. Calin, S. Dontu, Optical techniques for the non-invasive diagnosis of skin cancer, Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology, DOI: 10.1007/s00432-013-1423-3, 2013


Title: techniques for the non-invasive diagnosis of skin cancer

Abstract: Purpose: The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the most investigated optical diagnostic techniques: optical coherence tomography, fluorescence spectrometry, reflectance spectrometry, Raman spectroscopy and confocal microscopy. Methods: A search of three databases was conducted using specific keywords and explicit inclusion and exclusion criteria for the analysis of the performances of these techniques in the pre- and postoperative diagnosis of skin cancers. Results: Optical coherence tomography has shown promising results in the assessment of deep margins of skin tumors and inflamatory skin diseases, but differentiating premalignant from malignant lesions proved to be less effective. Fluorescence spectroscopy proved to be effective in revealing the biochemical composition of tissue; early detection of malignant melanoma was reliable only with stepwise two photon excitation of melanin, while tumoral margin assessment and diferential diagnosis between malignant and nonmalignant lesions showed some conflicting results. Characterisation of the structural properties of tissue can be made using diffuse reflectance specrometry, the values of the specificity and sensitivity of this method ranging between 72-92% and 64-92%, respectively. Raman spectroscopy proved to have better results both in carcinoma and melanoma diagnosis with sensitivities and specifities above 90% and high above 50%, respectively. Confocal microscopy is the closest technique to pathological examination and has gained the most clinical acceptance, despite the need for a standardization of the interpretation algorithm. Conclusions: In conclusion, these optical techniques proved to be effective in the diagnosis of skin cancer, but further studies are needed in finding the appropriate method or combination of methods that can have wide clinical applications.

Key words: optical coherence tomography, fluorescence spectrometry, reflectance spectrometry, Raman spectroscopy, confocal microscopy, sensitivity and specificity indices.

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