Objective methods for distinguishing melanoma in situ (MIS) from photodamaged skin (PS) are needed to guide treatment in patients with melanocytic proliferations. Melanocyte density (MD) could serve as an objective histologic criterion in difficult cases. Calculating MD via manual cell counts (MCC) with IHC stained slides has been previously published. However, the clinical application of this method is questionable, as quantification of MD via MCC on difficult cases is time consuming, especially in high volume practices.
ImageJ is an image processing software that uses scanned slide images to determine cell count. In this study, we compared MCC to ImageJ calculated MD in MITF-IHC stained MIS biopsies and control PS acquired from the same patients.
We found a statistically significant difference in MD between PS and MIS as measured by both MCC and ImageJ software (P < 0.01). Additionally, no statistically significant difference was found when comparing MD measurements recorded by ImageJ vs those determined by the MCC method.
MD as determined by ImageJ strongly correlates with the MD calculated by MCC. We propose the use of ImageJ as a time efficient, objective and reproducible tool to assess MD. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.