The dermoscopic versus the clinical diagnosis of melanoma

Claudio Benelli, Elena Roscetti, Vera Dal Pozzo, Giovanni Gasparini, Stefano Cavicchini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dermoscopy is an useful technique for the diagnosis of melanoma. All the diagnostic dermoscopic methods developed until now have been tested on dermoscopic slides and the real improvement given by this technique to the clinical diagnosis based upon ABCDE criteria is still unknown. For this reason, we decided to undertake a prospective study to compare the clinical diagnosis made with ABCDE criteria, to the dermoscopic diagnosis, made with the method 7FFM, developed by us. A total of 401 lesions were evaluated clinically and dermoscopically. On the basis of the number of the clinical criteria considered sufficient to diagnose a melanoma, various clinical scores, ranging from 1 to 5, can be obtained; data about the sensitivity of the clinical diagnosis of melanoma suggest that the most often used score is score 3. Our method 7FFM presents a sensitivity and a specificity better than those obtained with score 3: 80% versus 66.6% and 89.1% versus 79.3%. Besides this, we have evaluated if the sensitivity of our method 7FFM in the diagnosis of melanoma can be improved with the adjunct of the clinical criteria or of the clinical scores. The best values of sensitivity 93.3% and predictive value negative 97.3% have been obtained with score 2 plus 7FFM. Our results confirm that our method can be used in the screening of pigmented skin lesions in daily office practice and that an improvement in sensitivity without an excessive sacrifice of specificity can be obtained with the adjunct of the clinical score 2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-476
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Dermatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Clinical diagnosis
  • Dermatoscopy
  • Dermoscopy
  • Epiluminescence microscopy
  • Melanoma
  • Sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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