Use of In Vivo Confocal Microscopy in Malignant Melanoma: An Aid in Diagnosis and Assessment of Surgical and Nonsurgical Therapeutic Approaches | Dermatology | JAMA Dermatology | JAMA Network
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Observation
September 2004

Use of In Vivo Confocal Microscopy in Malignant Melanoma: An Aid in Diagnosis and Assessment of Surgical and Nonsurgical Therapeutic Approaches

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology (Dr Curiel-Lewandrowski) and Internal Medicine (Dr Williams), the Dermatopathology Section (Dr Tahan), the Cutaneous Oncology Program (Drs Curiel-Lewandrowski, Tahan, and Frankenthaler), and the Division of Hematology/Oncology (Dr Curiel-Lewandrowski), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass; and the Department of Dermatology, Wellman Laboratories of Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (Drs Swindells, Astner, and González). The authors have no relevant financial interest in this article.

Arch Dermatol. 2004;140(9):1127-1132. doi:10.1001/archderm.140.9.1127
Abstract

Background  Melanomas with poorly defined borders, lack of pigmentation, lentiginous extension, and location in cosmetically sensitive regions represent diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. Repeated surgical reexcisions are frequently required to achieve tumor-free margins. The use of reflectance mode confocal microscopy as an noninvasive method has shown to be a promising tool for diagnosing pigmented lesions in vivo.

Observations  We report 3 clinical cases of melanoma: amelanotic melanoma (case 1), locally recurrent melanoma (case 2), and lentigo maligna melanoma (case 3). In case 1, in vivo confocal microscopy was instrumental in making the diagnosis and in monitoring the response to imiquimod therapy for in situ residual disease. It was also used to successfully delineate preoperative surgical margins in cases 2 and 3.

Conclusion  As new methods for treating melanoma emerge and become more available, confocal microscopy can play a significant role by improving sensitivity in diagnosis, by increasing rates of successful initial excision, and by serving as a noninvasive means of monitoring therapy.

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