Background: Dermoscopy used by experts has been demonstrated to improve the diagnostic accuracy for melanoma. However, little is known about the diagnostic validity of dermoscopy when used by nonexperts.
Objective: To evaluate the diagnostic performance of nonexperts using a new 3-point checklist based on a simplified dermoscopic pattern analysis.
Methods: Clinical and dermoscopic images of 231 clinically equivocal and histopathologically proven pigmented skin lesions were examined by 6 nonexperts and 1 expert in dermoscopy. For each lesion the nonexperts assessed 3 dermoscopic criteria (asymmetry, atypical network and blue-white structures) constituting the 3-point method. In addition, all examiners made an overall diagnosis by using standard pattern analysis of dermoscopy.
Results: Asymmetry, atypical network and blue-white structures were shown to be reproducible dermoscopic criteria, with a kappa value ranging from 0.52 to 0.55. When making the overall diagnosis, the expert had 89.6% sensitivity for malignant lesions (tested on 68 melanomas and 9 pigmented basal cell carcinomas), compared to 69.7% sensitivity achieved by the nonexperts. Remarkably, the sensitivity of the nonexperts using the 3-point checklist reached 96.3%. The specificity of the expert using overall diagnosis was 94.2% compared to 82.8 and 32.8% achieved by the nonexperts using overall diagnosis and 3-point checklist, respectively.
Conclusion: The 3-point checklist is a valid and reproducible dermoscopic algorithm with high sensitivity for the diagnosis of melanoma in the hands of non-experts. Thus it may be applied as a screening procedure for the early detection of melanoma.
Copyright 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel