Proteomic Mass Spectrometry Imaging for Skin Cancer Diagnosis

Dermatol Clin. 2017 Oct;35(4):513-519. doi: 10.1016/j.det.2017.06.012. Epub 2017 Jul 11.


Mass spectrometry imaging can be successfully used for skin cancer diagnosis, particularly for the diagnosis of challenging melanocytic lesions. This method analyzes proteins within benign and malignant melanocytic tumor cells and, based on their differences, which constitute a unique molecular signature of 5 to 20 proteins, can render a diagnosis of benign nevus versus malignant melanoma. Mass spectrometry imaging may assist in the differentiation between metastases and nevi as well as between proliferative nodules in nevi and melanoma arising in a nevus. In the difficult area of atypical Spitzoid neoplasms, mass spectrometry diagnosis can predict clinical outcome better than histopathology.

Keywords: Atypical Spitzoid neoplasm; Atypical Spitzoid tumor; Atypical melanocytic neoplasm; Mass spectrometry; Mass spectrometry imaging; Melanoma; Skin cancer; Spitzoid melanoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Melanoma / chemistry
  • Melanoma / diagnosis*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / secondary
  • Nevus / diagnosis*
  • Nevus / pathology
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Proteomics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology


  • Proteins