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Non-invasive optical biopsy by multiphoton microscopy identifies the live morphology of common melanocytic nevi.

  • Author(s): Lentsch, Griffin;
  • Valdebran, Manuel;
  • Saknite, Inga;
  • Smith, Janellen;
  • Linden, Kenneth G;
  • König, Karsten;
  • Barr, Ronald J;
  • Harris, Ronald M;
  • Tromberg, Bruce J;
  • Ganesan, Anand K;
  • Zachary, Christopher B;
  • Kelly, Kristen M;
  • Balu, Mihaela
  • et al.

Multiphoton microscopy (MPM) is a promising non-invasive imaging tool for discriminating benign nevi from melanoma. In this study, we establish a MPM morphologic catalogue of common nevi, information that will be critical in devising strategies to distinguish them from nevi that are evolving to melanoma that may present with more subtle signs of malignancy. Thirty common melanocytic nevi were imaged in vivo using MPM. Quantitative parameters that can distinguish between different types of nevi were developed and confirmed by examining the histology of eleven of the imaged nevi. MPM features of nevi examined included cytologic morphology of melanocytes in the epidermis and dermis, the size and distribution of nevomelanocytes both within and around nests, the size of rete ridges, and the presence of immune cells in the dermis. Distinguishing features include cytological morphology, the size of nevomelanocytes, the size of nevomelanocyte nests, and the distribution of nevomelanocytes. Notably, these distinguishing characteristics were not easily appreciated in fixed tissues, highlighting essential differences in the morphology of live skin. Taken together, this work provides a morphologic compendium of normal nevi, information that will be critical in future studies directed at identifying melanocytic nevi that are evolving to melanoma.

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