Improvement of diagnostic confidence and management of equivocal skin lesions by integration of reflectance confocal microscopy in daily practice: Prospective study in 2 referral skin cancer centers.


Dermatology Service, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York; Dermatology Department, Melanoma Unit, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) allows accurate, noninvasive, in vivo diagnosis for skin cancer. However, its impact on physicians' diagnostic confidence and management is unknown.
OBJECTIVE : We sought to assess the physicians' diagnostic confidence and management before and after RCM of equivocal skin lesions.
METHODS : Prospective, 2-center, observational study. During clinical practice, 7 dermatologists recorded their diagnostic confidence level (measured in a scale from 0 to 10), diagnosis, and management before and after RCM of clinically/dermoscopically equivocal lesions that raised concern for skin cancer. We also evaluated the diagnostic accuracy before and after RCM.
RESULTS : We included 272 consecutive lesions from 226 individuals (mean age, 53.5 years). Diagnostic confidence increased from 6.2 to 8.1 after RCM (P < .001) when RCM confirmed or changed the diagnosis. Lesion management changed in 33.5% cases after RCM (to observation in 51 cases and to biopsy/excision in 31 cases). After RCM, the number needed to excise was 1.2. Sensitivity for malignancy before and after RCM was 78.2% and 85.1%, respectively. Specificity before and after RCM was 78.8% and 80%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS : Small sample size, real-life environment, and different levels of expertise among RCM users.
CONCLUSIONS : Physicians' diagnostic confidence and accuracy increased after RCM when evaluating equivocal tumors, frequently resulting in management changes while maintaining high diagnostic accuracy.


basal cell carcinoma,diagnostic accuracy,diagnostic confidence level,management,melanoma,reflectance confocal microscopy,skin cancer,