Usefulness of dermoscopy to improve the clinical and histopathologic diagnosis of skin cancers

Oriol Yélamos*, Ralph P. Braun, Konstantinos Liopyris, Zachary J. Wolner, Katrin Kerl, Pedram Gerami, Ashfaq A. Marghoob

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Multiple studies have shown that dermoscopy increases the sensitivity and specificity for the detection of skin cancers compared with examination by the naked eye. Dermoscopy can also lead to the detection of thinner and smaller cancers. In addition, dermoscopy leads to the more precise selection of lesions requiring excision. In essence, dermoscopy helps clinicians differentiate benign from malignant lesions through the presence or absence of specific dermoscopic structures. Therefore, because most dermoscopic structures have direct histopathologic correlates, dermoscopy can allow the prediction of certain histologic findings present in skin cancers, thus helping select management and treatment options for select types of skin cancers. Visualizing dermoscopic structures in the ex vivo specimens can also be beneficial. It can improve the histologic diagnostic accuracy by targeted step-sectioning in areas of concern, which can be marked by the clinician before sending the specimen to the pathologist, or by the pathologist on the excised specimen in the laboratory. In addition, ex vivo dermoscopy can also be used to select tumor areas with genetic importance because some dermoscopic structures have been related to mutations with theragnostic relevance. In the second article in this continuing medical education series, we review the impact of dermoscopy on the diagnostic accuracy of skin cancer, how dermoscopy can affect the histopathologic examination, and which dermoscopic features may be more relevant in terms of histologic and genetic prediction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-377
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • dermoscopy
  • histology
  • histopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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