RNA analysis of tape strips to rule out melanoma in lesions clinically assessed as cutaneous malignant melanoma: A diagnostic study

Ida M Heerfordt*, Peter A Philipsen, Jeppe D Andersen, Linnea Langhans, Grethe Schmidt, Niels Morling, Hans Christian Wulf

*Corresponding author for this work

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Distinguishing cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) from nevi can be clinically challenging. Suspicious lesions are therefore excised, resulting in many benign lesions being removed surgically to find 1 CMM. It has been proposed to use tape strip derived ribonucleic acid (RNA) to distinguish CMM from nevi.

OBJECTIVE: To develop this technique further and validate if RNA profiles can rule out CMM in clinically suspicious lesions with 100% sensitivity.

METHODS: Before surgical excision, 200 lesions clinically assessed as CMM were tape stripped. Expression levels of 11 genes on the tapes were investigated by RNA measurement and used in a rule-out test.

RESULTS: Histopathology showed that 73 CMMs and 127 non-CMMs were included. Our test correctly identified all CMMs (100% sensitivity) based on the expression levels of 2 oncogenes, PRAME and KIT, relative to a housekeeping gene. Patient age and sample storage time were also significant. Simultaneously, our test correctly excluded CMM in 32% of non-CMM lesions (32% specificity).

LIMITATIONS: Our sample contained a very high proportion of CMMs, perhaps due to inclusion during COVID-19 shutdown. Validation in a separate trial must be performed.

CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrate that the technique can reduce removal of benign lesions by one-third without overlooking any CMMs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume89
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)537-543
Number of pages7
ISSN0190-9622
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Keywords

  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Humans
  • Melanoma/diagnosis
  • Nevus/diagnosis
  • RNA
  • Skin Neoplasms/diagnosis

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