HealthDay News — About one-quarter of skin biopsies are diagnosed as melanocytic proliferation, according to a study published online in JAMA Dermatology.

Jason P. Lott, MD, from Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues examined the frequencies and distribution of histologically confirmed melanocytic lesions by conducting a natural language processing-based analysis of electronic medical record pathology reports of adult patients who underwent skin biopsies. The authors examined 80,368 skin biopsies performed on 47,529 patients.

The researchers found that 23% of skin biopsies were of melanocytic lesions. Based on the Melanocytic Pathology Assessment Tool and Hierarchy for Diagnosis, 83.1%, 8.3%, 4.5%, 2.2%, and 1.9% of lesions were class I (nevi and other benign proliferations such as mildly dysplastic lesions usually requiring no further treatment), class II (moderately dysplastic and other low-risk lesions), class III (melanoma in situ and other higher-risk lesions), class IV, and class V (for class IV/V: invasive melanoma requiring wide re-excision and potential adjunctive therapy), respectively.

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“Approximately one-quarter of skin biopsies resulted in diagnoses of melanocytic proliferations. These data provide the first population-based estimates across the spectrum of melanocytic lesions ranging from benign through dysplastic to malignant,” the authors write. “These results may serve as a foundation for future research seeking to understand the epidemiology of melanocytic proliferations and optimization of skin biopsy utilization.”

One author is an employee of Bayer US LLC.


Lott JP, Boudreau DM, Barnhill RL, et al. Population-based analysis of histologically confirmed melanocytic proliferations using natural language processing [published online November 1, 2017]. JAMA Dermatol. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.4060