In June 2014, work began on a UK programme of systematic reviews on the diagnosis and staging of skin cancer funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). This project was a collaboration between Cochrane Skin and the Biostatistics, Evidence Synthesis and Test Evaluation team in Birmingham and was led by Dr Jac Dinnes.
The reviews are now published as a special collection in the Cochrane Library 'Diagnosing skin cancer' (December 2018).
Hywel Williams presented a summary at the Cochrane Skin annual meeting in Paris 2019.
Two protocols for the staging reviews have also been published: 'Tests to assist in the staging of cutaneous melanoma: a generic protocol' and 'Tests to assist in the staging of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma: a generic protocol'. The reviews are 'Ultrasound, CT, MRI, or PET-CT for staging and re-staging of adults with cutaneous melanoma' (July 2019) and 'Sentinel lymph node biopsy for staging cutaneous melanoma and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in adults'.
The smartphone applications review was updated in 2020 as a non-Cochrane review 'Algorithm based smartphone apps to assess risk of skin cancer in adults: systematic review of diagnostic accuracy studies'.
List of reviews (revised June 2017)
Diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma
2. Visual inspection
3. Smartphone applications
4. Reflectance confocal microscopy
5. Computer-aided diagnosis – spectroscopy-based techniques (combined with keratinocyte skin cancer)
6. Reflectance confocal microscopy (combined with keratinocyte skin cancer)
7. Teledermatology (combined with keratinocyte skin cancer)
8. Overview: Comparing the accuracy of tests for which sufficient evidence is identified either alone or in combination
Diagnosis of keratinocyte skin cancer (BCC and cSCC)
9. Visual inspection versus visual inspection and dermoscopy
10. Optical coherence tomography
11. Reflectance confocal microscopy
12. Exfoliative cytology
13. Overview: Comparing the accuracy of tests for which sufficient evidence is identified either alone or in combination
Staging of melanoma
16. PET or PET-CT
18. Sentinel lymph node biopsy +/- high frequency ultrasound
19. Overview: Comparing the accuracy of tests for which sufficient evidence is identified either alone or in combination
Staging of cSCC
20. Imaging tests review
21. Sentinel lymph node biopsy +/- high frequency ultrasound