Melanoma diagnosis

Professor Scott Menzies, Head

Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma of any country in the world. The critical factor in reducing death rates from this disease is early detection of the primary skin lesion.

Professor Scott Menzies aims to improve the clinical diagnosis of melanoma using a variety of instrumental techniques.

Within the last two years Professor Menzies’ group has published the world’s largest study describing the diagnostic accuracy of monitoring skin lesions over time for changes indicative of melanoma, and the world’s largest studies describing the accuracy of in vivo confocal microscopy for the diagnosis of melanoma. This instrument, which allows semi-histological imaging of live patient skin, has dramatically improved the diagnosis of melanoma and its mimics.

All of the above studies are aimed to achieve such early detection and to demonstrate their effectiveness in the wider clinical arena. In this regard, Professor Menzies led a recently published clinical trial with Australian general practitioners, which showed a near doubling of correctly diagnosed melanoma, while reducing needless excisions by nearly two-thirds. It is anticipated that the use of these new diagnostic techniques will change the way Australian GPs detect melanoma.

The research team

  • Dr Pascale Guitera, Clinical research fellow
  • Associate Professor Fergal Moloney, Clinical research fellow
  • Dr Elliot Coates, Clinical researcher
  • Ms Ritta Khoury, Research assistant

Featured image

melanoma images

Left: Dermoscopy image of a melanoma.

Right: In vivo confocal microscopy image of a melanoma show single melanoma cells (arrow).