Research Papers

Melanin absorption spectroscopy: new method for noninvasive skin investigation and melanoma detection

[+] Author Affiliations
George Zonios, Aikaterini Dimou

University of Ioannina, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, 45110 Ioannina, Greece

Ioannis Bassukas

University of Ioannina, School of Medicine, Department of Skin and Venereal Diseases, 45110 Ioannina, Greece

Dimitrios Galaris

University of Ioannina, School of Medicine, Department of Biological Chemistry, 45110 Ioannina, Greece

Argyrios Tsolakidis, Efthimios Kaxiras

Harvard University, Department of Physics, Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

J. Biomed. Opt. 13(1), 014017 (February 26, 2008). doi:10.1117/1.2844710
History: Received March 18, 2007; Revised September 13, 2007; Accepted September 14, 2007; Published February 26, 2008
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We present a new method for studying melanin in vivo based on diffuse reflectance spectroscopy of human skin. We find that the optical absorption spectrum of in vivo melanin exhibits an exponential dependence on wavelength, consistent with, but with a higher decay slope than, in vitro results. We offer theoretical justification for this exponential dependence on the basis of a recently proposed model for the structure of eumelanin protomolecules. Moreover, we report on a new method for analysis of diffuse reflectance spectra, which identifies intrinsic differences in absorption spectra between malignant melanoma and dysplastic nevi in vivo. These preliminary results are confirmed both by analysis of our own clinical data as well as by analysis of data from three independent, previously published studies. In particular, we find evidence that the histologic transition from dysplastic nevi to melanoma in situ and then to malignant melanoma is reflected in the melanin absorption spectra. Our results are very promising for the development of techniques for the noninvasive detection of melanoma and, more generally, for the study and characterization of pigmented skin lesions. It is also a promising approach for a better understanding of the biological role, structure, and function of melanin.

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© 2008 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

George Zonios ; Aikaterini Dimou ; Ioannis Bassukas ; Dimitrios Galaris ; Argyrios Tsolakidis, et al.
"Melanin absorption spectroscopy: new method for noninvasive skin investigation and melanoma detection", J. Biomed. Opt. 13(1), 014017 (February 26, 2008). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.2844710


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