Skin cancer diagnosis depends, to a great extent, on visual inspection and histopathological examination of excised tissues. The aim of this study is to evaluate the ability of electrical impedance scanning to differentiate between benign and malignant skin lesions.
A preclinical study was conducted on 40 nude mice injected subcutaneously with a human melanoma strain. Impedance measurements were recorded every week to correlate electrical changes with tumor growth and histological findings. A clinical study was also performed on 178 human suspicious skin lesions before excision. The impedance measurements were correlated to the histopathological results.
Normalized conductivity and capacitance, recorded on growing skin tumors in nude mice, were shown to change relative to lesion size. Necrosis, present in most of the larger lesions, was associated with a decrease in the electrical conductivity. Similar electrical parameters were used to classify human melanoma lesions with 92% sensitivity and 67% specificity. In addition, four out of five BCC lesions were correctly diagnosed. Moreover, dysplastic lesions were diagnosed with 91% sensitivity and 59% specificity. For comparison, physicians diagnosed melanoma lesions with 75% sensitivity and 87% specificity and dysplastic lesions with 46% sensitivity and 80% specificity.
The animal study showed that electrical impedance measurements reflect morphological changes related to the growth of a cancerous skin lesion. These findings are in agreement with a preliminary clinical study. Electrical Impedance Scanning can therefore be considered as an objective and non-invasive tool for differentiation between benign and malignant skin lesions.