Larger skin lesions appear more likely to be melanomas

Apr 21, 2008

Skin lesions larger than 6 millimeters in diameter appear more likely to be melanomas than smaller lesions, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Dermatology. The findings suggest that the diameter guidelines currently used by dermatologists to screen for melanoma are useful.

Many clinicians use the ABCDE method to screen for melanoma, according to background information in the article. The criteria are evidence-based guidelines that remind physicians of the features characteristic of melanoma—asymmetry, border irregularity, color variegation, diameter larger than 6 millimeters and evolution, or changes in the lesion. However, some researchers argue that strict adherence to the diameter guideline will cause physicians to miss smaller melanomas.

Naheed R. Abbasi, M.P.H., M.D., of the New York University School of Medicine, New York, and colleagues studied 1,323 patients undergoing biopsies of 1,657 pigmented skin lesions or markings suggestive of melanoma. The maximum diameter of each lesion was calculated before biopsy using a computerized skin imaging system.

Of the lesions, 804 (48.5 percent) were larger than 6 millimeters in diameter and 138 (8.3 percent) were diagnosed as melanoma. Invasive melanoma, which has penetrated deeper into the skin, was diagnosed in 13 of 853 lesions (1.5 percent) that were 6 millimeters or smaller in diameter and in 41 of 804 (5.1 percent) lesions that were larger than 6 millimeters in diameter. In situ melanomas, which remain in the skin’s outer layers, were diagnosed in 22 of 853 (2.6 percent) lesions 6 millimeters or smaller in diameter and in 62 of 804 (7.7 percent) lesions larger than 6 millimeters in diameter.

“Within each 1-millimeter diameter range from 2.01 to 6 millimeters, the proportion of melanomas did not vary significantly, remaining stable at 3.6 percent to 4.5 percent,” the authors write. “However, we observed a nearly 100-percent increase in the proportion of melanomas when comparing the 5.01- to 6-millimeter category (4.3 percent) to the 6.01- to 7-millimeter category (8.3 percent).”

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Docs face challenges treating HPV oropharyngeal CA patients

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Brain surgery evolves to destroy rogue blood vessels

Dec 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Over three decades, a world-recognized medical team at UC San Diego Medical Center has spurred the evolution of a complex surgery to destroy dangerous clusters of arteries and veins in the brain. Integrating ...

Recommended for you

Decoding the emergence of metastatic cancer stem cells

14 hours ago

In the first study of its kind, Rice University researchers have mapped how information flows through the genetic circuits that cause cancer cells to become metastatic. The research reveals a common pattern ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.