Inter-rater and intra-rater agreement of confocal microscopy imaging in diagnosing and subtyping basal cell carcinoma

D J Kadouch, A van Haersma de With, Y S Elshot, M Peppelman, M W Bekkenk, A Wolkerstorfer, I Eekhout, C A C Prinsen, M A de Rie

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BACKGROUND: Reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) imaging can be used to diagnose and subtype basal cell carcinoma (BCC) but relies on individual morphologic pattern recognition that might vary among users.

OBJECTIVES: We assessed the inter-rater and intra-rater agreement of RCM in correctly diagnosing and subtyping BCC.

METHODS: In this prospective study we evaluated the inter-rater and intra-rater agreement of RCM on BCC presence and subtype among three raters with varying experience who independently assessed static images of 48 RCM cases twice with four weeks interval (T1 and T2). Histopathologic confirmation of presence and subtype of BCC from surgical excision specimen was defined as the reference standard.

RESULTS: The inter-rater agreement of RCM for BCC presence showed an agreement of 82% at T1 and 84% at T2. The agreements for subtyping BCC were lower (52% for T1 and 47% for T2). The intra-rater agreement of RCM for BCC presence showed an observed agreement that varied from 79% to 92%. The observed agreements for subtyping varied from 56% to 71%.

CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, our results show that RCM is reliable in correctly diagnosing BCC based on the assessment of static RCM images. RCM could potentially play an important role in BCC management if accurate subtyping will be achieved. Therefore future clinical studies on reliability and specific RCM features for BCC subtypes are required. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1278-1283
Number of pages6
JournalJEADV. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Issue number8
Early online date19 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


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