Detection of cutaneous malignant melanoma by tape stripping of pigmented skin lesions - A systematic review


BACKGROUND: Cutaneous malignant melanoma (MM) is potentially aggressive, and numerous clinically suspicious pigmented skin lesions are excised, causing unnecessary mutilation for patients at high healthcare costs, but without histopathological evidence of MM. The high number of excisions may be lowered by using more accurate diagnostics. Tape stripping (TS) of clinically suspicious lesions is a non-invasive diagnostic test of MM that can potentially lower the number needed to biopsy/excise.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The aim is to determine the diagnostic accuracy of TS in detecting MM in clinically suspicious pigmented skin lesions. This systematic review following PRISMA guidelines searched PubMed, Web of Science, and Embase (September 2022) using melanoma combined with tape stripping, adhesive patch(es), pigmented lesion assay, or epidermal genetic information retrieval.

RESULTS: Ten studies were included. Sensitivity ranged from 68.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 51.5, 82.1) to 100% (95% CI 91.0, 100). Specificity ranged from 69.1% (95% CI 63.8, 74.0) to 100% (95% CI 78.5, 100). A pooled analysis of five studies testing the RNA markers LINC00518 and PRAME found a sensitivity of 86.9% (95% CI 81.7, 90.8) and a specificity of 82.4% (95% CI 80.8, 83.9).

CONCLUSION: Overall quality of studies was low, and the reliability of sensitivity and specificity is questionable. However, TS may supplement well-established diagnostic methods as pooled analysis of five studies indicates a moderate sensitivity. Future studies are needed to obtain more reliable data as independent studies with no conflict of interest.


  • Humans
  • Antigens, Neoplasm/genetics
  • Biopsy/methods
  • Melanoma/pathology
  • Pigmentation Disorders/pathology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skin Neoplasms/pathology
  • Surgical Tape
  • Melanoma, Cutaneous Malignant


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