Melanoma detection in Italian pigmented lesion clinics

G. Argenziano, E. Moscarella, A. Annetta, V. C. Battarra, B. Brunetti, C. Buligan, C. Cantisani, R. Capizzi, A. Carbone, A. Carlino, V. Corsetti, A. Damiano, V. De Salvo, P. De Simone, P. Di Caterino, M. C. Fargnoli, A. Ferrari, B. Fossati, P. Frascione, G. GhigliottiM. A. González Inchaurraga, C. Guerriero, C. Landi, L. Mazzoni, S. Mirizzi, G. Palazzo, A. Pedretti, K. Peris, P. Piemonte, A. Rossi, R. Satta, F. Savoia, M. Scalvenzi, I. Stanganelli, G. Stinco, P. Zampieri, I. Zalaudek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim. Accuracy in melanoma detection is important to recognize early curable melanomas and to minimize the unnecessary excision of benign lesions. The aim of this paper was to evaluate melanoma screening accuracy of Italian pigmented lesion clinics in terms of number needed to excise (NNE), melanoma thickness, and number of melanomas diagnosed during patient follow-up. Methods. Information on all skin tumors excised in 2011 were extracted from the databases of the participating centers. Information whether the lesion was excised at the baseline examination or during patient follow-up was recorded, as well as the overall number of patients examined in each center in 2011. Results. After e-mail solicitation, 22 of 40 centers agreed to participate. A total of 8229 excised lesions were collected. The overall number of examined patients was 86.564, thus 9.5% of screened patients had a lesion removed. Of the excised lesions, 866 were diagnosed as melanoma (1% of examined patients) and 5311 (88.9%) were melanocytic nevi. Three NNE were calculated giving values of 7.9 excised lesions to find 1 melanoma, 7.1 melanocytic lesions to find 1 melanoma, and 3.7 lesions to find 1 skin malignancy. The median melanoma thickness was 0.6 mm, with only 15.1% of melanomas ≥1 mm of thickness. Melanomas detected over time were 96 (11.1%; mean thickness, 0.3 mm), with 15.6% of lesions excised after short-term follow-up and 84.4% after long-term follow-up. Conclusion. The NNE values comparable to those achieved in specialized clinical settings and the high number of early melanomas diagnosed at the baseline examination or during patient follow-up indicate a high level of accuracy in melanoma screening achieved by Italian pigmented lesion clinics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-166
Number of pages6
JournalGiornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Clinical laboratory techniques
  • Dermoscopy
  • Melanoma
  • Nevus, pigmented

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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